Why drafting a Will is important
Estate Planning documents including a Last Will and Testament, Living Will and Powers of Attorney are powerful tools that give you and your family peace of mind and protection. Not only can a Will legally protect your spouse, partner, children, and assets, it can also spell out exactly how you would like things handled after you have passed on.
A Will allows you to make an informed decision about who should take care of your minor children. If you pass away without a Will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian. Having a Will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children or, better, make sure it is not someone you do not want to raise your children.
Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, canceling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments. Because executors play the biggest role in the administration of your estate, you’ll want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organized (which may or may not always be a family member).
It’s important to know that you can make changes to your Will at any time while you’re still alive. Life changes, such as births, deaths, and divorce, can create situations where changing your will are necessary. As an estate planning attorney and specialist, Atty Wendi understands that life happens, and when changes occur, you need someone with this expertise to guide you.
Most people do not realize they can disinherit individuals out of their Will. Yes, you may wish to disinherit individuals who may otherwise inherit your estate if you die without a Will. Because Wills specifically outline how you would like your estate distributed, absent a Will your estate may end up on the wrong hands or in the hands of someone you did not intend (such as an ex-spouse with whom you had a bitter divorce).
What are the implications of dying without a Will
Wills are not just for the rich and wealthy. Regardless of how much or how little money you have, a Will ensures your wishes are heard. It states that whatever personal belongings and assets you have will go to family or the beneficiaries you name or designate.
“Intestate Succession” is the legal term for dying without a Will. If you die without a Will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out. In Ohio, who gets your possessions, property and assets will depend on whether or not you have a living spouse, children or other family members when you die. Your Will is a legally-binding document that lets you determine how you would like your estate to be handled upon your death, rather than leave decisions regarding your assets in limbo for either your family members or the courts.
In addition to making sure your wishes are carried out, having a Will helps minimize any family fights about your estate that may arise by specifying beneficiaries (people who receive property/assets) and naming an executor (the person in charge of making sure your wishes are carried out). When choosing the executor of your estate, it is important to choose someone responsible, who you trust to understand and follow your last wishes. They are also the court’s primary point of contact, and will usually hire an attorney to make sure the administration of your estate is handled properly.
Attorney Henderhan has over 15 years of experience drafting Wills and advising her clients on making good choices for beneficiaries and executors. Her compassionate nature makes it easier to discuss these very important and sensitive legal matters.
Why it’s important to have an Attorney draft your Will
Preparing a Will without the expertise of an estate planning attorney carries risk. If you attempt to prepare a Will for yourself, your wishes might be invalidated if you make a mistake. Unless you are a lawyer, writing a Will for someone else could be problematic as you could be accused of practicing law without a license.
Attorney Wendi will also advise you if there is a better way to transfer assets. For example, survivorship deeds for real estate property, jointly title bank accounts, and named beneficiaries on insurance policies to avoid probate.
It is always better to hire an attorney to prepare your Will. Your arrangements are too important to leave up to chance.
I’m young, do I really need a Will?
Yes. In fact, a Will may be the most important document that you ever prepare, because it allows you to select the persons who will receive what you own when you die. If you don’t have one in place, you cannot select the recipients of your property and the state you reside in will determine how your property is divided.
Procrastination of estate planning is understandable, especially in our younger years. Unfortunately, the realization that Wills are necessary often comes too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs. No one wants to add stress on families during an already emotional time, so having a simple Will in place can be invaluable when change happens.
We can talk you through the importance of estate planning regardless of where you are in life.