Providing Trusted Legal Representation
Your last will and testament is an extremely important document whether you have moderate assets or substantial wealth. If you have children you wish to provide for or specific wishes regarding who will receive money and property upon your death, having your will drafted professionally is essential. The issues at hand are simply too important to rely on do-it-yourself legal kits or a lawyer primarily focused on unrelated practice areas.
There are many excellent reasons to get a dependable estate planning attorney and draft a will that reflects your current situation and intentions. You may have recently had children or invested in a home, for example. You may simply have put establishing a will off until now and recently become more conscious of that need.
What Happens if Your Die Without an Estate Plan?
If you die without a will (also known as dying “intestate”), the laws of your state will decide how your assets are divided. Without a will, the legal process that determines how your assets will be distributed [known as “probate”] will most likely be longer. An extended probate period can be time-consuming and involve expensive legal fees, decreasing the amount of your assets that are ultimately distributed to your loved ones.
In many states if you don’t have a will all of your assets will go to your spouse, if you have one. In some states your assets will be divided between your spouse, your children and/or descendants of any deceased children. If you don’t have a spouse or children, your property will likely be distributed to any living family members. If you don’t have living family members, your property will go to your state of legal residence.
Perhaps most important, if you have minor children and you and your spouse die without a will, the court system would name the children’s personal-care and financial guardians.
Why Have a Developed Estate Plan?
Having a will is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Not only can a will legally protect your spouse, children, and assets, it can also spell out exactly how you would like things handled after you have passed on.
1. You decide how your estate will be distributed
2. You decide who will take care of your minor children
3. To avoid a lengthy probate process
4. To minimize estate taxes
5. You decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate
6. You can disinherit individuals who would otherwise inherit
7. Make gifts and donations
8. Avoid greater legal challengers
9. You can change your mind if your life circumstances change.
10. Because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed