Estate planning is a crucial aspect of preparing for the future, and while a Will may be the first thing that comes to mind, it’s important to understand that relying solely on a Will can lead to complications. Despite what you see in movies and TV shows, a Will alone cannot adequately address all of your estate planning needs for protecting your loved ones and ensuring your final wishes are carried out effectively.
A Will is a legal document that outlines how your assets should be distributed after your death. It allows you to designate an executor who will be responsible for managing the distribution of your assets and fulfilling your wishes. However, for a Will to be legally binding, certain laws and formats must be followed. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial to ensure your Will meets all legal requirements and is properly drafted to reflect your intentions accurately. The laws differ from State to State so online do it yourself Wills may not be accepted in your particular State.
A Will does not keep you out of court. A Will must still go through the probate process which can be expensive, lengthy and complex, particularly if there is a will contest by a beneficiary or non-beneficiary.
Another misconception is that all property passes through a will. As a example joint property and insurance policies are not considered part of your “residuary estate”. So if you have a joint bank account with your spouse, and your will says 50% to your spouse and 50% to your child, your child would not be sharing in that bank account.
Another problem with “just a will” is it may not provide the best tax relief if there are taxable consequences in your will leaving your beneficiaries with less than you think they will have.
While a will is an important part of estate planning, it also does not address planning for a disability. Other estate planning tools assist in spelling out your desires if you become incapacitated as well as let others act on your behalf without having to go to court to be appointed.
It is the rare client who needs “just a will.” Before you decide that is all you need, contact the estate planning attorneys at Tomes Law Firm to discuss what may be best for you as well as what specific problems “just a will” may mean for you. “Just a will” is fine, as long as you making an informed decision that is all you want. Contact us today at 732-333-0681 for your strategy session