Having a will is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family.

If you don’t currently have a will, your loved ones may not receive the assets you wish to leave them in the event of your death.

A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children if any.

Creating a will gives you sole discretion over the distribution of your assets. It lets you decide how your belongings, such as cars or family heirlooms, should be distributed. If you have a business or investments, your will can direct the smooth transition of those assets.

If you have minor children, a will lets you provide for their care. If you have children from a prior marriage, even if they are adults, your will can dictate the assets they receive. Creating a will also minimises tension between survivors. Relatives battling over your possessions can weaken what may have otherwise been a strong family.

If you do not have a will, you die intestate. In such a case, the state will oversee the distribution of your assets. Contrary to popular opinion, the state does not inherit your assets, but rather distributes them according to a set formula. The formula often results in half of your estate going to your spouse and the other half going to your children. Such a scenario can result in the sale of the family home or other assets, negatively impacting the surviving spouse. This can create financial and emotional difficulties, particularly if your spouse was counting on the bulk of your assets to maintain his or her standard of living. Further complications can arise if your children are minors, as the court will appoint a representative to look after their interests.