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Why Wills Matter For Young Couples

Why would a young couples with one or more children need a Will? Two reasons: protecting your spouse and protecting your children.

In Pennsylvania, if you die without a Will, the Commonwealth decides how to divide your property. A married person with one or more children will have his or her property split as follows: the first $30,000 of property will pass to the surviving spouse and the rest will be divided evenly between the surviving spouse and any children. If the deceased person has children who are not the children of his or her surviving spouse, then the surviving spouse does not receive the first $30,000. Instead, everything the deceased owns is divided equally between the surviving spouse and the deceased's children. Either case can cause major hardship for the surviving spouse.

Most people assume that everything they own is joint with spouses, but that is often not the case. Cars, trucks, tools, baseball card collections: all of these items create difficulty when a Will is not in place to dictate what property goes where. This is all assuming that the deceased person's pension, IRAs, and life insurance policies are updated to name the spouse as primary beneficiary. Make sure this is the case.

Finally, there is the major concern that if both spouses were to die in close succession, who would care for the children of the marriage. A Will provides a person with the ability to name who he or she wants to care for the children if the unthinkable were to occur.

Wills are simple, inexpensive, and create security and certainty for parents. They are too important not to have in place.

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