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  1. Employee Resources
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  3. The Importance of Having a Will

The Importance of Having a Will

Release Date: January 25, 2021

Do you have a will? If the answer to this question is “no,” consider drafting a will as one of your New Year’s resolutions. If you have a will, and haven’t updated it in several years, you might consider updating this document to reflect life changes that have taken place since you first prepared it.

Why should you have a will?

  • With a will, you can direct where and to whom your estate (what you own) will go after your death. If you died intestate (without a will), your estate would be distributed according to your state’s law.
  • Wills make the administration of your estate run smoothly. A clear expression of your wishes helps prevent costly, time-consuming disputes over distribution of your assets.
  • Your will is the only way to choose the person to administer your estate and distribute it according to your instructions. If you do not have a will naming an executor, the court will make the choice for you. Usually the court appoints the first person to ask for the post.
  • For larger estates, a well-planned will can help reduce estate taxes.
  • If you have minor children, a will allows you to appoint a guardian should both you and their other parent both pass away.

When should you update your will?

  • When you add a child to your family through birth or adoption,
  • If you are considering divorce, or have just gotten a divorce,
  • When your child gets married,
  • When your executor or a beneficiary dies,
  • If you come into a windfall of money, or
  • If you can’t find your original will.

Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is Here to Help

Writing a will can feel overwhelming, but your Component Employee Assistance Program can help you start the process. Most people know that preparing a will provide peace of mind but hesitate to start because they fear that preparing one is complex or distressing. A simple will, however, is often merely a structured list of straightforward tasks designed to wrap up one’s personal and financial affairs.

Your Component EAP can provide you and your family members with financial and legal consultation services, and can refer you to legal counsel who, in a no-cost initial legal consultation, can provide you help in making sound legal decisions. For more information contact the DHS Worklife Team at worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 01/25/2021
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