Writing your Last Will and Testament is not a subject that is pleasant, but in this day and age, it is a necessary document.
Webster’s Dictionary definition of a “Will” is “a legal declaration of a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property or estate after death, especially a written instrument legally executed by which a person makes disposition of his or her estate to take effect after death”.
An executed will not only allow you to specify where your personal property goes after your death, it also allows you to make provisions for your minor children, your spouse, or an aging parent. Guardians can be named, Trusts can be established, and overall expenses of your estate can be reduced. The financial decisions you make within your will can be advantageous for tax reasons as well as beneficial to your family.
You can appoint an executor who you trust with the task of settling your estate and carrying out your wishes.
What happens if I don’t have a will?
Although the answer to this question may vary by state, generally speaking, the courts will make decisions on your behalf. The court will appoint an executor possibly costing your estate more money. The court will decide on a guardian for your minor children, and the court will divide your estate as it sees fit.
This is not recommended. Most generic forms do not take into account individual state laws. The ambiguity of these forms may leave your wishes open to interpretation. As a matter of fact, a do-it-yourself will may cost your estate more money in the long run because more legal proceedings may need to be held in order to ask and respond to questions that the terminology within the document has left unanswered.
Should I use a lawyer to execute my will?
Yes. A lawyer can navigate and interpret your wishes so that they are understood by all. A lawyer can give advice and direction on subjects that are not easy to talk about. A lawyer has the experience and training necessary to be sure all of your objectives have been considered within the context of your family.