Do I Need a Will?
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, I have noticed that many people are thinking about preparing a will. I have many friends, often with small children, who have approached me during this uncertain time with questions.
One question I have heard is: Why do I need a will?
A will (Last Will and Testament) allows an individual to make many important decisions and designations that become effective after he or she dies. These include:
- Who will become the guardian of my minor children?
- Who will receive my property that passes through my probate estate?
- Who will serve as personal representative to administer my estate during the probate process?
- How will assets left to my minor be managed? Do I need a trust embedded in my will?
As you can see, a will does more than designate where your assets will go. Even people with minimal assets should have a will. There is the potential that certain claims could arise as the result of your death which could add assets to your estate, such as damages paid in connection with an automobile accident or wrongful death claim. It is important to have the appropriate estate plan in place to address the disposition of those potential assets.
Another question I have been asked is: Can I just use a form online to draft my will?
While a form online can be used, it is likely not a wise decision. When preparing a will, there are many nuances to your individual situation. You should consider protecting your family members’ rights, avoiding conflicts and challenges among your heirs and beneficiaries, preserving assets for children of a prior marriage, and choosing a suitable personal representative and trustee. Moreover, you will want to avoid undesirable tax consequences and make sure to protect your heirs’ eligibility to Medicaid or other means tested benefits. In addition to these drafting considerations, a lawyer will make sure that your will is executed properly to avoid future will contests after death.
Drafting a will or trust is important business. Please consider contacting me or another qualified estate planning attorney to ensure that your estate plan is properly drafted and executed. Contact us Today!