Establishing a Last Will and Testament
Don’t Leave Your Family Members Without a Plan – Even if you’re unfamiliar with the many aspects of planning your estate in case of death, you probably know one of the most important documents is your last will and testament. In simple terms, this document outlines your wishes for what will happen to your estate and assets after your death. It names the person, called an executor, you would like to handle the settling of your debts and distribution of your property. A will can also list beneficiaries to receive assets.
A last will and testament is a crucial document because it allows you to control what happens to your assets after death. Without a will—called dying intestate— the estate is distributed according to laws of succession, essentially leaving everything up to a court. By planning in advance, you can make very specific stipulations for how, when, and to whom your property is distributed.
Give Your Loved Ones Peace of Mind
Furthermore, in addition to the control it provides in expressing final wishes, a last will and testament also ensures family and friends experience less stress and confusion after a death. A will with a named representative avoids the need for a court-appointed executor, and makes the probate process easier, saving family members time and money.
And more than just naming an executor and leaving assets to beneficiaries, a last will and testament can appoint guardians or conservators for minor children or incapacitated adults, protecting them and avoiding having a court appoint one. A guardian provides for a ward’s overall welfare, while a conservator is in charge of the protected person’s finances.
Representation in a Variety of Estate Planning Matters
While a last will and testament is a pivotal part of planning ahead, it can also be combined with other legal documents to make the transition even easier for your executor and loved ones. Because a will has to go through probate to be deemed legitimate, some assets can be placed in a living trust instead to avoid the process. Similarly, certain property can be directly transferred to someone via a beneficiary deed, also avoiding the wait of probate.
There are many estate planning options to protect your assets, save money on taxes, and provide for descendants. Moreover, in addition to end-of-life documents, the attorneys at Bellah Perez can also help you draft powers of attorney and living wills, to account for situations in which you are incapacitated.
The many estate planning matters we can prepare for you in addition to a last will and testament include:
- Creating Wills and Trusts
- Drafting Powers of Attorney
- Providing Representation in Conservatorships and Guardianships
- Providing Representation in Probate Matters
- Drafting Beneficiary Deeds