Many people fall into the trap of thinking that wills and estate plans are only for wealthy individuals. Other people falsely believe that because they are young, there is little to no reason to write a will or make a plan.
But death will occur, sometimes without warning striking even the young. Other times procrastination outlasts the person’s ability to actually understand and make a plan. But in all cases, death also creates expenses and issues.
Statistics suggest that over half of the US population over the age of 55 do not have an estate plan in place. No matter what one’s station in life is it begs the question of what will your loved ones, and/or next of kin be faced with after you are gone?
If you need motivation to realize you yourself need a plan, speak with someone who has had a shock death event upset their lives; or someone who has gone through the process of sorting out a loved one’s unplanned estate. They will tell you that in the end the avoidance of the process and/or the cost was actually very costly indeed.
At McCammon Law we hear plenty of stories of people having to go through significant hassle to obtain control of their deceased relative’s assets; and often times there was readily available way to have made a simple non-probate transfer without even needing to probate a will.
In most situations, and this is true for McCammon Law, an initial consult about an Estate plan is “free.” It is also the case that a will need not be complicated. Come on in and let us consider your situation and provide you with some options for your Estate Plan. To prepare for the meeting consider the following:
What are your Goals and Values? The best place to begin deciding what your will should contain is to consider your values. You should also review your life and assess what matters most. Many people decide to focus on their family- a spouse, children, parents or siblings – or not? Maybe a charity is very important to you?
Itemize Your Assets After deciding on what matters to you, It’s a good idea to itemize your assets and your liabilities. Make sure to list things like retirement accounts, insurance policies and real estate. This list will help your Estate Planning attorney make the best plan for you. Keeping and updating this list from time to time is a good idea. This information should be stored in a safe place.
Decide Who Should Be Responsible for Your Estate. All wills require an Executor or personal representative who will act as the individual in charge of carrying out the terms of your will. Select someone you can trust and who will help you to navigate matters fairly. It’s a good idea to test that person’s willingness to serve ahead of time.
Wills avoid disputes. Retaining a lawyer to draft your will can greatly decrease the chances of a dispute between family members. Attorney-drafted wills are a good consideration if you have a blended family or substantial assets. Saying what you want in writing overcomes various family “memories” of what you said over time as to who should have what