How an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Document Your Legacy
Writing a will is an important task that will secure your family’s future after you are gone. A will represents the final words that you leave for your loved ones. And with those words, you will also be leaving them your legacy. Many people are not aware of the significance of preparing a will and all of the requirements that go along with it. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you avoid common mistakes in drafting your will and make sure your final wishes are known.
Ensuring Your Will is Valid
The number one priority in drafting a will is to ensure that it is valid. Even a simple mistake can cause your will to be deemed as invalid by the probate court. Without a valid will, the distribution of your property and assets will be decided by the court. This will delay the distribution of assets and may leave your loved ones in financial strife. Arguments may also arise among your family members about the distribution of your property and assets. Sometimes, these disputes can lead to costly court battles and broken relationships for years to come. With the right information and guidance from an estate planning attorney, writing your will can be a process that will give you peace of mind.
Choosing an Executor
Another important step in writing a will is choosing an executor, also known as a personal representative. The executor is the person in charge of distributing your property and assets according to the terms of your will. The executor must also ensure that all of your accounts are closed and all of your debts are paid. It may sound simple, but it can be a time-consuming process.
Most people choose a family member or close friend to serve in this role. When choosing an executor, you will want to make sure the person will be mentally and physically able to perform the required duties. Some family members, such as your spouse, may be too overcome with grief to be an effective executor for your estate. You will also want to choose someone who can remain neutral and negotiate any conflicts that may arise within the family.
Maximizing the Value of Your Estate
As you prepare your will, you want to ensure that as much of your estate as possible is distributed to your loved ones. There are many state and federal tax laws that can impact how much your estate is ultimately worth and how much your loved ones will pay in taxes after you are gone. An experienced estate planning attorney can review your will and help you figure out how to minimize estate taxes. By having an attorney involved, you can also minimize probate court fees for your loved ones.
Finding the Right Attorney
Your will is more than just a legal document. It represents your final words and it will provide for your family’s future. You will need an attorney who is sensitive to the emotional issues that arise when preparing a will, including fear and uncertainty about the future. When you meet with your attorney, you should feel an immediate connection and a sense of trust. With the thoughtful guidance of a skilled estate planning attorney, you can feel at peace, knowing that your family will be taken care of after you are gone.