There are 2 important reasons why a person should have a will though both, or neither, may apply to everyone. The first reason deals with your assets and how you would like those assets to be dealt with when you die. Without a will, your assets will be distributed according to the legislated intestacy rules which will likely not reflect your wishes. For example, if you pass away and are married with children, and all of the children are both your and your spouses, your spouse will receive all your assets. However, if you pass away and are married, but you have children who are not your spouses, your spouse will get a preferential share and the remainder will be divided among your spouse and children. If your estate is small, this may mean your spouse gets everything if the value of your estate is less than the preferential share. In addition, if you do not wish one of your children to inherit an equal share or if you wish your children to inherit at an age other than 18, this cannot be dictated without a will. A will allows you to state your wishes and maintain control over your assets. Even if the intestacy rules reflect what you would like to happen, everyone has a different idea on what is “fair” and what is “equal” so a will can provide guidance for your heirs in distributing your assets.
The second, and arguably more important reason, pertains to people with minor children. You will name a guardian for your minor children in your will. Without naming a guardian, your wishes may not be known and therefore not respected and this could cause great strife among your family members. In the worst case scenario, your children could end up in foster care if no one steps forward to care for them.
In any event, the only way to have your wishes be known and followed is to have a will.