Put Your Affairs in Order with a Will. Our Estate Attorneys are Experts in All Aspects of Estate Planning.
A will (referred to formally as a last will and testament) is a document that provides for the distribution of your assets upon your death. Everything you worked so hard to accumulate throughout your life, including real estate, cars, life insurance and personal belongings, will need to go somewhere after you’re gone. A will serves some essential functions you may not have considered.
Even if you think your situation doesn’t merit having one, a will is still extremely important. It lists your intentions clearly and contains all the necessary details of how to carry out your wishes. Few people know when they might die but passing suddenly and without a will subjects your loved ones to unnecessary anxiety at an already difficult time. Without having created a will, you relinquish any input about the distribution of your property after your death or the people involved in administering your estate. This means that a local court must step in and make those decisions for you in accordance with state law. In addition, even if at the time of your death you have no living relatives, the state does not permit distributions to a friend, a favorite charity, or any non-related person. Instead, the property usually ends up going to the state.
You’ll never have to worry about facing this situation if you draw up a will well before you think you may need one. Completing this task early allows you to add to your original provisions or alter the document over the course of your life. Asurest’s team of estate attorneys, trusted throughout Richmond, are here to assist you with every step of the process. Here are some components of your will to think about before you schedule an appointment.
First, a will requires that you designate an executor to oversee how your assets are distributed. This decision requires careful thought, especially if you have a lot of property or investments. Administering an estate can take a lot of time and might require some legal expertise depending on how much and what types of property you own. It requires reliability, organization, and attention to detail. Whoever you choose should be someone you trust to be fair in distributing your property while moving the process forward efficiently.
If your will provides for distributions to a trust held by a bank or other corporate entity, that institution is often the best choice as executor. Even without a trust, corporate trustees have significant experience in estate administration, as well as the ongoing technical knowledge and legal expertise to handle virtually every situation.
Secondly, if you’ve decided to put any trusts in place, your will provides a backup, because one of its purposes is to funnel assets into the trust. It also provides a safety net for any assets that may have been overlooked when the trust was first funded.
You can designate charitable gifts through your will. This is an excellent opportunity to support a cause you believe in. Helping an organization working to improve the community allows you to give back in the best possible way. Whichever nonprofit organization you choose will be extremely grateful for your generous assistance.
Finally, and most importantly for parents, your will appoints a guardian for any minor children in the event of your death. Even if you’ve already had a conversation with these intended guardians, does the rest of your family and your spouse’s family know who you’d like to fill this important role? Losing a parent is one of the most stressful times in a child’s life. Ease their grief and prevent family tension by making it clear the guardians you want to provide for your children’s care once you’re gone.
Once you have your will drafted, make sure to review it periodically after significant life events, to ensure it still reflects your future wishes. Lastly, make sure your loved ones and executor know where your will is located.
Not sure where to start? That’s where Asurest’s estate planning attorneys can help. Whether you need a will, a trust, assistance with probate, or a comprehensive plan to cover every issue, our team of legal experts at Asurest can design the best estate plan for you and your family. Our estate attorneys have been serving Richmond, Charlottesville, and the surrounding areas for many years, and we treat every client with respect and compassion. Our goal is to make sure you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing everything is in place no matter what happens.
Give us a call at (804) 805-4220 to make an appointment. We’re also happy to come to you or chat on the phone if you prefer. Your peace of mind starts with Asurest.
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