Did you know that one of our U.S. Presidents did not have a will when he passed away?
In fact, this President was an accomplished attorney and was even practicing law up until the time he was elected which even made it even more unusual that he did not prepare his estate to pass on.
Do you know who that President was?
I will tell you in a minute. But first, let’s see what a Will can do for your estate.
Your Will: The Cornerstone to your Estate Planning
With a will you get to choose who will get your property, rather than leave it up to state law.
A will also allows you to nominate a guardian for your minor children.
You also get to name who you want as the executor of your estate and specify how to pay estate taxes and other expenses.
You also can create a trust in your will, known as a testamentary trust, that comes into being when your will is probated. Your will sets out the terms of the trust, such as who the trustee is, who the beneficiaries are, how the trust is funded, how the distributions should be made, and when the trust terminates. This can be especially important if you have a spouse or minor children who are unable to manage assets or property themselves.
Your will gives you the chance to minimize taxes and other costs. For instance, if you draft a will that leaves your entire estate to your U.S. citizen spouse, none of your property will be taxable when you die, if your spouse survives you, because it is fully deductible under the unlimited marital deduction.
So who was this President the only President reportedly to have died without a will?
It was Abraham Lincoln.