Perhaps the most important legal document a person can create is their Last Will and Testament.
Many people mistakenly think a will is unnecessary or only something to consider writing in later years, but that could not be further from the truth. Life can be uncertain and unexpected and having a will can give you a chance to prepare for the future, today.
Why Have a Will?
While it may seem uncomfortable to think about your death, having a will gives you peace of mind and creating one is not the morbid process you might think it is. A will is a legal document that allows you to have control over what happens to your assets and personal belongs should you die. Everyone can benefit from having a will—no matter your age, marital or family status, or socio-economic status, a will gives you the chance to decide how your possessions will be distributed and so much more. If you don’t have a will, your assets and property could end up going somewhere you don’t want them to go.
Creating a will allows you to specifically plan and prepare for whatever the future will bring and ensure that those you love are cared for. Among other things, a will allows you to:
- Name an executor – this means choosing a specific person who will take responsibility for your “estate”, or in other words, anything you leave behind when you die. The executor is in charge of carrying out your will and distributing your property. A will allows you to choose someone you trust for this role so you can be sure your last wishes will be honored.
- Specify who should receive your assets – if you die without a will, it is called dying “intestate.” This means your assets will be given to relatives or ultimately to the state, according to state intestacy law. If you want to be able to decide and name specific family, children, or friends that should receive your property in the event of your death, you need a will.
- Take care of your family – a will is vital in planning for your family’s future. If you have children, a will can be used to name a guardian, so that if you die, you can be sure they will be taken care of by someone you selected and trust. The decision of who should parent your children in the event of your untimely death is extremely important and should not be left up to a Court. Taking time to name a guardian for your children in your will can bring peace of mind as you ensure that you have a say in your child(ren)’s future. Additionally, a will also makes it possible to plan for the distribution of your financial assets now, to avoid hassle and conflict among family members in the future.
Though it can be difficult to plan for what should happen after your death, it is essential to protecting your assets and your family’s future. Without a will, the court will take over upon your death and make decisions about your assets, property, and even your children’s guardians for you. To avoid letting someone else make those important decisions, it is vital to have a will.
Get an Attorney’s Estate Planning Help
Making sure your family and property are taken care of after you die is not to be taken lightly. Creating a will can be tricky because there are certain state law requirements that a will must conform to, to be considered valid. While there are free will forms available on the internet, it is easy to make a mistake with these DIY options. When a mistake is made, it is possible that your will can be ruled invalid by a court after your death. Because even a simple mistake in the will creation or process can result in major consequences, such as invalidating your will, it’s important to seek the help of a wills and estate planning attorney as you plan for your future.
Seeking the help of a wills lawyer can help bring you peace of mind—an attorney can make sure the will complies with state requirements and includes your specific requests, be that in your asset distribution or plans for your children. It is also important that a will is signed and executed correctly (which includes having witnesses), to prevent your will from being disputed later on.
Having a lawyer draft your will helps to minimize potential problems and secure your future. Determining the best way to pass on your assets and protect your family can get complicated—if you have multiple assets, own a business, are married or divorced, or have minor children, a lawyer can be particularly helpful in navigating the will creation process. An attorney can also help protect your financial assets by determining the best options for your money, including possible tax implications. Additionally, in the event circumstances change, and your will needs to be updated or altered, you will already have an advocate who is familiar with your situation, who can easily make those changes.
Ultimately, no matter how big or small your estate may be, an attorney is always a good idea. Working with an attorney in every step of the will creation process, from drafting to execution, can help you feel at ease during what may initially seem like an overwhelming task.
Get Started on Your Will Today
Creating a Will, and an Estate Plan is about making thoughtful choices now so that you and your loved ones are prepared for the future. It allows you the opportunity to take control and have a say in what will happen to your loved ones and personal assets when you are no longer here.
Erin C. Callahan can assist you as you plan for your future. With her advice and guidance, you can feel calm about your future. She can help you draft a personalized will, specific to your unique situation to ensure your wishes are protected. To get started on your will, contact her office today at (281) 766-0976.
Five action steps to creating a will now!
- Call, email or schedule an appointment with your attorney;
- Meet with an attorney face to face to discuss your needs, concerns, and questions;
- Hire an attorney to help you develop a plan; and
- Read your estate plan every year;
- Develop a long term relationship with your attorney to make sure that your plan stays up to date.