A properly drafted will can save your heirs much time and money. It’s also sensible to write a will in order to appoint guardians for your minor children, and trustees to manage their property. Without a will, the court might appoint a guardian you have never met before.
A will would also allow you to distribute property according to your wishes. Without a will, real estate may be inherited by minors or several co-owners and who would have to manage all the property together. Estate planning would save your heirs significant expense and trouble later. Writing a will could save your heirs significant hassle and expense and could also prevent fights within the family over property. While minors can own property, they do not have legal capacity to manage it. If your children inherit a share of your house, your spouse would not be able to sell it, rent it out, or even refinance the mortgage without a court order. Getting court orders is a very expensive and time consuming process.
Even if you do not think you need a will, you should still see one of our attorneys to draw up a health care directive and a durable power of attorney for other matters. If you are incapacitated, a power of attorney will let a friend or loved one act on your behalf to take care of your business and make health care decisions for you.
While small estates (currently estates with a value of $100,000 or less) may be administered by affidavit, larger estates may require probate to ensure the proper distribution of assets and to ensure that heirs are not surprised by creditors of the decedent or by the IRS wanting estate tax or other tax authorities.
Our attorneys can help you plan for the time when you cannot plan or act for yourself.