Only four of every ten U.S. adults has a will, according to a 2017 survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The study found that just 36 percent of parents with children under the age of 18 have a will.
The primary reason given for not compiling this important document was simply not making the time to collect information. Survey respondents also surmised that they “don’t have enough assets.”
In an environment of half-truths and outright misinformation, it’s important to get the facts about creating a detailed will, and why you need one in the first place. Here what you need to know about the process:
Prior to compiling documentation, you must name a personal representative. This could be a spouse, adult offspring, trusted friend, or relative. In some cases — particularly when the details of your estate are complicated — it’s wise to select an attorney to act as personal representative. When you work with a Daytona Beach will attorney, you have peace of mind that all the necessary documentation and processes have been covered.
Next, make a list of beneficiaries and decide how monies and property will be allocated. Some people choose to include a less formal letter of instruction along with a will.
Joint Wills Can Cause Complications
Most estate planners advise against joint wills. Some states won’t even recognize them. Since it’s unlikely that both spouses will die at the same time, individual wills are usually the wisest choice.
This option is particularly useful when each spouse must address unique issues such as ex-spouses, children from previous relationships, privately-held property, and other scenarios.
What Happens Without a Will
In legal circles, the term for a person who dies without leaving a valid will is ‘intestate.’ It means the estate will be settled depending on laws of the state where the person lived.
When you don’t leave a will, there’s a chance your loved ones will be denied assets. Rather than operating with your best interests at heart, this administrator will be legally bound by the state’s probate laws. We can help you fashion comprehensive and legally-binding documents that will protect your loved ones in the event of incapacitation or death.
Assistance is Available
Many people opt to create wills and compile legal documents on their own. However, working with an experienced and knowledgeable will attorney ensures your detailed wishes will be honored. In addition, we provide valuable insight and assistance into the best estate-planning strategies, including living trusts and more.
While it’s possible that your will won’t ever require updating, the fact is that life events often require revisions. Marriages, divorces, new children or grandchildren, and deaths in the family all warrant an update. When you work with an attorney to draft your will, future updates are simple.
Offering nearly four decades of experience in estate planning, real estate law, and more, we have the knowledge and expertise to help create your will and organize your estate plans. Contact us today to get started.