Estate plans allow you to plan for the future, even when you are no longer around. Most people consider the last will and testament to be at the center of a complete estate plan. Even if you don't have anything else but a will, it will matter. Your loved ones will benefit from your forethought and care when you make out a will. Unfortunately, many fail to make even that important step and their families can face unfortunate consequences. Read on and find out why a last will and testament is so important.
Don't Die Without a Will
When someone passes away and no valid will can be located, they are said to have died intestate. Each state has a legal method of distributing the assets of the estate when no will exists. The state will be making decisions about what to do with your property instead of you. Making a will that is acceptable by the probate court assures that your final wishes will be honored.
Appoint Someone to be in Charge
A personal representative (or executor) must be chosen to perform many tasks. Many people place a loved one in charge, but you can also choose a friend, professional contact, or an attorney to do the job. This person should be trustworthy, capable, and fair. They will be working closely with the probate lawyer to accomplish the tasks assigned by the probate court. For instance, they will be performing property inventories, taking care of estate property during probate, and distributing estate property according to your wishes.
Communicate Your Wishes
Talking about estate matters can be a touchy subject for most families. However, it's best to be open about your will. Discuss things with your spouse or your adult children so that they will know what to expect when the time comes. Be sure they know where to find your important papers like your will, life insurance policy, and more. Speak with them about the appointment of a personal representative. It's better to find out now if your first choice won't be able to do the job.
Make Your Final Arrangements
Funeral and burial planning is best done while you can make the decisions rather than your loved ones. After a death, the family will be in mourning, in shock, and feeling confused about the loss. This is not a good time for them to make decisions about where and how you want to be remembered.
Speak with a will planning attorney for more information.