Having a valid and up-to-date estate plan is not always a priority to some people. Thinking about what will happen after passing away can be grim and not necessarily something to casually chat about. In fact, it can be quite sad and upsetting. However, the reality is that this is an important topic that needs to be discussed with a lawyer specialized in estate planning to make sure that your wishes are carried out, property is adequately distributed, and family is taken care of past your lifetime.
Your Wishes Carried Out
You won’t have to worry about your wishes being carried out incorrectly when you have a valid will illustrating exactly what you want. For example, you may have always wished for your daughter to own the jewelry that has been in your family for ages or you may want your spouse to own the house if they survive you. To ensure that your loved ones are given what you intend them to receive, you will need to execute a formal will.
Without a will, your estate (including your personal and financial property) will go through probate. Your belongings and finances will also be distributed through your state’s intestacy rules. Dying intestate means that you die without a valid will. Each state has adopted their own intestacy and probate rules so depending on the state you reside in, the statutory estate law may differ from one state to another.
Taking Care Of Your Family
Another reason to execute a will is to have your family taken care of. While it is always difficult dealing through the death of a family member, it shouldn’t have to take an additional financial toll on them. Especially if you have children and/or a spouse that depends on you financially, you can make it easier for them to get through this difficult process after you take the time to get more info about estate planning from a professional specialized in this field. The death of a family member is a hefty emotional burden on anyone, but if you plan ahead, you can make sure that a financial burden will not weigh your family down.
It is also important that you update your will from time to time. Life is constantly changing so it will behoove you to know exactly what is written in your latest validly executed will at all times and to not procrastinate on any needed updates. For example, you may have another child or someone could pass away. You have the ability to change or update your will as many times as you’d like, so you should take advantage of this following significant life changes.
Proper Execution Of A Will
As with intestacy rules, states also have different will execution formalities. For example, some states allow wills that are completely handwritten (called “holographic wills”) while other states do not. In certain states, two witnesses are required to be present at the will execution. Furthermore, courts have contemplated whether a witness must be able to observe and acknowledge a will execution or simply be present.
For these reasons, it is always best to have a professional that you can discuss your wishes with to have your will properly executed according your state’s rules. If you move to a new state, also make sure you receive legal representation with an attorney licensed in that area, who is familiar and up to date with all the requirements. Estate planning is an important responsibility that should be done with careful thought and a knowledgeable professional.