The days after the death of a loved one can be some of the most painful and stressful times in one’s life. By putting a plan in place ahead of time, you can spare your family some of the pain and sorrow of having to deal with your affairs and estate. If you don’t draft a will in advance of your death, the state will determine who receives your property and financial assets, and a judge may be able to determine who will raise your children. Without a drafted will, your final wishes may not be honored.
Drafting a last will and testament is a complex process and having an experienced estate planning lawyer by your side to help guide you is invaluable in the long run. Your estate planning lawyer can help you determine your beneficiaries, the succession of your business, custody of your children, and help you plan for any unexpected expenses that may occur after your death.
Without drafting a will that outlines your wishes in the event of your death, you are leaving your family vulnerable to losing certain assets, as well as increasing stress during an already-painful time in their lives. Your property and assets will be forced into a court process known as probate and your assets may not be split in the way you would prefer. This is precisely why it is so crucial to speak to a wills and estate planning attorney now – before it’s too late.
Important Milestones to Create or Update a Will
Wills don’t need to be overly complicated, but there are certain situations in which it may be more important to draft a will sooner rather than later:
- If you are over the age of 50
- If you are suffering from a chronic or terminal illness
- If you have underage children whose custody you are concerned about
- If you are a business owner and wish to appoint a successor
- If you have significant financial assets or property
Many people may try to draft their own will, but having a wills and estate planning lawyer to guide you through the process can make a world of difference. At Warren & Migliaccio, we understand that this is a stressful and confusing process, and we want to help make it as painless as possible for you now, and especially for your loved ones in the future.
Limitations of a Will
There are certain things that a will cannot do:
- Wills do not leave funeral instructions. Wills are often read days or even weeks after death, and often the reading of a will takes place after the funeral.
- Wills do not allow you to leave certain kinds of property. Property with joint tenancy, money in a pension plan or retirement account, and property held in beneficiary may not be willed after death.
- Wills do not lower real estate taxes. If you expect to owe federal real estate taxes, a will won’t reduce your tax liability.
- Leave money for illegal purposes.
- Leave money to pets. Pets can’t own property, so you’re better off leaving money for a trusted loved one to care for your pet.
- Arrange for special care for a beneficiary. If you have a beneficiary with special needs, you will need to set up a special needs trust that will not interfere with their ability to receive government benefits.
Drafting a will ensures that your loved ones are taken care of, and that your estate and assets will be divided according to your wishes. It can be difficult to think about, but making a will saves your loved ones a great deal of pain and sorrow.
If you would like to draft your will and plan your estate, contact Warren & Migliaccio to speak to our experienced estate planning attorneys and get started today.