Well-known financial columnist Mary Hunt states, “Every adult needs his or her own will – one that is frequently updated and compliant with the laws of the state in which that person maintains permanent residence”. There are numerous problems with using the online or off the shelf will forms. A simple will for an individual prepared by an attorney is not that costly. The forms available online are often confusing and require some degree of computer savvy that not everyone has. An attorney will also be able to answer any legal questions you may have before signing your will and take appropriate actions to ensure that your wishes are met and concerns addressed.
If you die without a will or with one that has not been properly created, you are considered “intestate”. In this situation, the directions you wanted are often not followed. Asset division is made according to the laws of the state you reside in. That can often have money going to persons you did not intend to leave your estate to. Incurring unnecessary attorney fees that could have been avoided if you had done some advanced planning is a possibility. A will is important for planning who will take care of your minor children if you pass away, what specific items you desire to go to certain individuals, what charities or other organizations you wish to give money to in addition to your kin, and which of your descendants or heirs are to get what type and amounts of your various assets and under what conditions.
There are other more extensive estate planning tools such as Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and division of your assets by contract. All of these things should be discussed with a competent Trust and Estate attorney.
by James T. Reilly
Reilly Law Office, LLC can help you with any Estate Planning needs you may have. You can call us from Monday to Friday between 8.30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 815-672-8505.