There are lots of things we tend to avoid. Going to the dentist. This year’s flu shot. In a list of things we keep putting off, writing a will probably even ranks ahead of going to the dentist. We all know we should do it, but we keep telling ourselves we can do it next month or next year.
All this procrastination can have unfortunate consequences. If you die without a will, who inherits your property is probably going to be determined by state laws. It’s quite possible that this means your property is divided in a way you wouldn’t approve of at all. A will is an important protection for your heirs. Additionally, should you and a spouse pass away without a will, there could be negative consequences for your children as your family members may start fighting over custody.
Where to begin? There are many decisions you need to make when you’re preparing to write your will. If you’re married, one of the first decisions you’re faced with is whether to have a mirror wills or not. This means that the wills mirror each other with respect to the terms in it, typically leaving everything to a spouse and your spouse leaving everything to you. This is not always the case though when you have children from a first marriage that may need to be considered.
You also need to decide who should be the personal representative of your will. The personal representative can be any adult that you trust. If you have a complicated financial situation, it may make sense to make your attorney or a financial advisor the personal representative.
Do you need a lawyer? It’s always recommended, and although it is possible to do it yourself, in many cases an estate planning attorney is able to spot problems and save you money far beyond his or her fees. There are also many special intricacies in the law that can be explained by a lawyer, such as homestead property rights, that inadequate planning in your will can miss.
It’s especially important to have a lawyer assist you in more complicated situations. If you’d like to set up a trust for someone, if you suspect that someone might contest your will, if you have a child with special needs — these are all situations where you would be well advised to have legal assistance preparing your will.
Preparing a will is an important way of protecting the future of your loved ones…so stop putting it off! If you have any questions about how a will can benefit you and your family, please contact us today…we’re always happy to answer them!