Five Indications That You Need a Lawyer to Write Your Will
Writing a will can be a daunting, even terrifying task. All too often, it is something that is put off for too long, frequently leaving families without a clear idea of their deceased loved one’s true wishes. To combat not writing wills at all, numerous companies offer simple, do-it-yourself will “kits.” These tools, often provided as a series of templates in a book or on software, can be a valuable guide for individuals with relatively simple assets to distribute.
However, while do-it-yourself wills have their place, it is important to know that there are some instances where having a will lawyer Folsom trusts draft the document can save your family time and eliminate frustration and unforeseen costs. Here are some flags to look for to determine if you need a lawyer to assist with your estate planning:
1. Do you have minor children? Unfortunately, tragedies can happen wherein both parents or guardians may be killed at once. Parents of minor children should think very carefully about hiring a lawyer to specify their wishes. In addition to asset distribution, there is the matter of custody arrangements. In addition, it may be wise to set up a trust to distribute funds as needed to the minor child or children until they reach the age of majority.
2. Are you giving to charity? Many people make charitable giving part of their end-of-life plan, which is a fantastic way to support a nonprofit and provide a legacy for your family. However, if you are giving to a charitable organization in lieu of giving to family members, it is possible that the will could be contested. One of the best ways to avoid a will contest is to prove competency at the time of creating the document. Using a lawyer in this case, or any case where competency may be questioned, can prevent questioning of your wishes.
3. Is this not your first marriage? Prenuptials and spoken agreements aside, multiple former marriages can make for murky water in a probate court. To avoid any confusion, it is highly recommended to have a lawyer draft the will if you have had more than one marriage. This is especially important if there are children from a previous marriage, in which case a lawyer’s input is vital. Wills can be a very emotional and sensitive issue, so it may be best to have a professional who can navigate that difficult time with your family after your passing rather than leave them to do it on their own.
4. Are you making a final statement? The ugly truth may be that you are choosing to disinherit one of your children which is your legal right. However, in this touchy situation where it is more likely that a will would be contested, it is highly recommended that you utilize a lawyer to write the document.
Whether you hire a lawyer for your will or not, be certain to have the document updated if any of your life circumstances change. For instance, divorce, marriage, or the birth of child or grandchild are all reasons to update the document. Above all, make sure to have a will complete and in a safe place to protect your family and assets after your death.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into writing wills and estate planning practice.