In a perfect world, no one would die without a will. Not only is it more expensive and time-consuming to sort out your affairs after you leave, it also puts unnecessary stress and strain on your grieving loved ones. With that in mind, here are five answers to frequently asked questions for estate planners.
Question 1: Why do I need a will?
Answer: Although the laws may differ from state to state, when a person dies without a will (intestate), the state is obligated to intervene and oversee the disposition of property and personal property. We should also note that personal finances can be an issue when an adult parent or spouse inherits something under state law. For example, if they are in debt or owe tax arrears, the state may have the power to seize property when it has legal control over an estate. It is for these reasons (and many more) that it is always advisable to write a clear and concise final will that divides everything down to the last penny and personal item.
Questions 2: What about my children?
Answer: Because it's hard to cope with our mortality, most of us procrastinate. But when couples have children, they owe it to their offspring to put a plan in place while they are still in the prime of their lives. They may have decades to live, but if they don't make it clear who they want to raise their children in the event of a tragedy, the state will do it for them. It can lead to all kinds of complications, from family feuds and legal battles to unusual arrangements that are not in the best interests of the children.
Question 3: Who should get what?
Answer: It is a sad fact of life that people who love each other often fight over the inheritance. It's not always about greed; in fact, most of the time people come across items that have little or no monetary value. Be sure to be clear about which family member or friend receives certain sentimental elements.
Question 4: How honest should I be?
Answer: Your lawyer cannot explain all of your legal rights, options and obligations unless he / she has a full picture of your personal life. If, for example, you have an illegitimate child or a partner that you are not married to but want to support yourself, you should alert your attorney to their existence so that they can be added to your will.
5. What about my pets?
Answer: Most Americans consider their dogs and cats to be family, but they neglect to mention them in their wills nonetheless. As a result, their furry friends could be left homeless if no one is named as their new guardian. The solution? You should set aside sufficient funds to take care of your beloved pets in case you pass away before them.
We may not have answered all of your questions in this short article, but we hope we have convinced you that writing a will is neither morbid nor scary; it's just careful and thoughtful.