Why aren’t a last will and testament mandated by law?

Because everything the government must mandate by law the government must administer, and that necessitates spending money to create and maintain bureaucracies, and that necessitates imposing taxes, and that necessitates angering voters needlessly.

Nobody likes the government telling them to spend money on things they don’t want. If you don’t want a last will and testament, but the government were to require you to have one, then you’d either have to go to (and pay) a lawyer to help you prepare one or go to LegalZoom and pay money for something that you don’t want and that you will likely make such a mess of it that it’s more trouble than it’s worth at best and does you more harm than good at worst.

How would you administer such a law? Would you require everyone to have a last will and testament at birth? Upon reaching the age of 18 question mark upon marriage? Divorce? Retirement? And how would you know who is and is not complying with the law? Would you have to file a copy of your last will and testament with your tax return every year?

Once the government requires you to have a last will and testament, then it’s up to you to make necessary changes to your will as changes arise in your life. One more thing the government requires you to do that you don’t really need to do and may not want to do.

Over time we’ve come up with a better way to deal with decedent’s estate than mandating that every person have a last will and testament. We have instead what are known as intestate succession laws. If you die without a will, the law determines automatically to whom your property goes. This is far more fair, more efficient and more pervasive and effective than a law that requires everyone to have a last will and testament.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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