Estate Planning Legal Documents
There are several estate planning documents that everyone should have. These documents include the following: Last Will and Testament, Living Will, Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a Durable Financial Power of Attorney.
Today let us dive into the Last Will and Testament. But first please note that a Last Will and Testament is different from a Living Will. A Living Will provides an agent of your choosing the ability to make decisions regarding your health care. We will discuss Living Wills in further detail at a later date.
No one wants to acknowledge that death is inevitable, but drafting a Last Will and Testament (will) is one of the most important things that a person can do for their loved ones. That’s right, a will is not for yourself, but rather it is a step that you take to care for your loved ones after your death.
Benefits of a Last Will and Testament
You choose where your estate (ie. your stuff) goes.
A will allows the person writing the will, called a testator, the ability to provide for their spouse, children, grandchildren, pets, etc. upon his/her death. The will provides for these loved ones by laying out how each of the testator’s assets will be divided upon death.
Still some people do not see the reason to sit down with an experienced attorney to write a will. However, if a person dies without a will then state laws, laws of intestacy, will determine how the deceased individual’s estate’s assets will be divided. And the intestacy outcome may not align with what the person who passes away, called the decedent, wanted.
You choose who will be the executor (ie. person in charge) of your estate.
A will also allows the testator to select the person who will execute their wishes set forth in the will, called the executor. But if no will is written then a court will appoint this person to distribute your estate’s assets. With all the nuances in family matters, a court appointed executor can make an already difficult time even harder for your loved ones.
You choose who will be the guardian(s) (ie. care for) of your minor child.
Another benefit of a will is that the testator can name a legal guardian for their child and direct how property should be handled when left to a minor child. Again, if no will is written then a court will appoint a legal guardian for your minor child and his/her financial matters. The court appointed guardian may not be the individual with whom you and your child had the best relationship, is most knowledgeable about your child’s daily routine and your wishes for his/her future, etc.
You choose how to protect your business.
A will can lay out who will inherit your company when you pass away. There is nothing worse than compounding your loved ones’ loss with the pressure of maintaining the family business without direction. A will provides essential estate planning for your business to keep the business going for future generations.
Overall, a will provides your loved ones with peace of mind and a sense of direction for your estate. Every family needs a sense of stability and guidance in the tough times of loss.
Let’s Get Planning Today!
These are just a few of the endless beneficial reasons for sitting down with an experienced attorney to write your will and plan for your family’s future. If you are ready to take the next step and create a plan for your family’s future then contact us at SutterWilliams Law, LLC. SutterWilliams Law, LLC offers additional legal documents and services to assist you in your estate planning needs, including a living will, durable healthcare power of attorney, and a durable financial power of attorney to name a few.
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