It is an uncomfortable thought to have, but it is one that we all must confront at some point in our life: the end. When we die, we want to know that our estate — our legacy — is ready and that it is properly handed off to the people that we designate. In order to make this happen, you will need a will to make your final wishes clear and to ensure that, legally, you are covered.

If you don’t have a will, then your estate will be in a more precarious situation. Dying without a will means that you are “intestate” and, as such, your estate will be left to the mercy of state laws, a judge and the administrator that the judge appoints to your estate. That isn’t an ideal situation, because your property and assets may not be passed on in the way that you want or your family and loved ones want.

This serves as a warning to everyone out there: no matter your age, make sure you have a will in place. In your will, appoint an executor and make sure you have your beneficiaries selected and clearly named in the will. You will also want to make sure that your will is clear and that it is reviewed by an attorney to ensure legal compliance.

A will is just one part of an estate plan, but it is the foundation upon which your estate plan exists. Make sure you have one — and make sure it is updated and proper.

Source: Wise Bread, “What You Need to Know About Writing a Will,” Andrea Cannon, April 20, 2016