Writing a will allows you to instruct your executor how you want your property to be distributed when you die. If you have minor children, your will says who will raise them if you die and their other parent is deceased.
The Oakland Press’s article titled “Writing a will today is more important than ever” says that if you pass away without a will, the state will make these critical decisions for you. What the state decides may not reflect your wishes. This may create conflict and stress within your family and cause financial troubles for those you leave behind. In addition, none of your assets will go to your favorite charities.
A will and other estate planning documents are critical because they give you control over how your affairs are handled when you die. This includes the way in which your assets are distributed and who will take care of your children if they’re minors.
When you draft your will, it’s important that it’s legally valid. There’s no guarantee that a will prepared without an estate planning lawyer will meet the criteria. If the probate judge doesn’t accept your will, it’s as if you died without one.
As a result, it’s very important that you work with a qualified estate planning attorney to prepare your estate plan. If you don’t, it is possible that your will or other estate documents you purchased online might not meet the state requirements. This means that you’ve wasted money, and your instructions may not be followed. This can mean uncertainty in how your estate is eventually administered, and it can make an already stressful situation even worse for your family.
An experienced estate planning attorney can make sure your will meets the state’s requirements. Having a valid will decreases hard feelings within your family and keeps your family from challenging its validity in court.
If you have a will, consider updating it, especially if a beneficiary listed on the document has died, if you’ve sold your home and bought another, if you’ve given away some of your possessions, if your financial circumstances or the value of your property has changed, or if your charity relationships have changed.
You may want to change your estate plan when your children become adults or if others that were provided for in the estate plan are no longer living.
Reference: Oakland Press (May 16, 2020) “Writing a will today is more important than ever”