Does Your Will Clarify Your Wishes?
Consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that you understand how your assets will transfer to your named beneficiaries after your death.
If you have no will or if no one can find it after you die, all property in your name will be distributed according to state laws. These laws may or may not line up with your priorities.
Why People Procrastinate About Wills
Most people, if they think about it, want to have a say in how their estate will be settled after their deaths. Many, however, put off writing, formalizing or revising their wills. Reasons for postponing this important task include:
- A distaste for considering one’s own mortality
- An illusion that “there is plenty of time”
- An idea that legal costs would be excessive
- An idea that a handwritten will is sufficient
- Failure to realize that an existing will should be updated
An estate planning review with an experienced, attentive lawyer helps many people get past mental obstacles such as these.
Purpose Of A Will
A will is a legal document designed to allow someone to determine how their assets will be distributed after the end of life.
To be valid, a will should be created when the person is of sound mind and not unduly influenced by other people. Normally, a will must be finalized according to law, with the correct number of signatures, and notarized.
A typical will dictates who, among survivors, will receive which assets after death. It may also:
- Establish one or more trusts
- Designate guardians for surviving minor children
- Name a personal representative (executor or executrix) responsible for carrying out the settling of an estate
As a rule of thumb, many experts recommend reviewing wills every five years, or:
- After a marriage or divorce
- After the birth or adoption of children or other family changes
- When a disabled child (minor or adult) may need special provisions throughout life
- After significant changes, such as upon starting a business or receiving a substantial inheritance
A will is the foundation of most estate plans. In other cases, people put most or all assets in trusts, but they should still have “pour-over” wills to account for any assets not entitled to a trust.
Bogutz & Gordon, PC‘s Role In Our Clients’ Estate Planning Process
Our attorneys take the time necessary to listen to and understand our clients’ estate planning goals. We explain options and help our clients carry out their chosen testamentary documents. Our lawyers are thorough, attentive and collaborative. We work together as needed to meet our clients’ estate planning needs.