Checklist of Issues a Probate Lawyer Suggests to Address in Your Will
According to recent statistics, over 42% of Americans have a will in place. A will allows people to place in writing their wishes after they have passed on. Contrary to popular belief, wills are not only for the well-to-do or the elderly. Anyone can and should make a will in order to provide their family with some peace and protection after you are gone. However, although the amount of people with a will is pretty high, that does not mean they are being crafted perfectly. Thus, the following includes a probate lawyer’s checklist of issues that will help you address some of the items that people tend to forget during their estate planning process.
Why a Probate Lawyer Recommends a Checklist for Your Will
As stated above, simply creating a will is not enough to protect your estate or your family after your passing. Missing items such as one piece of real estate property being left out of your will can quickly throw everything out of order. Because your will is not clear, the decision power is then placed on the state in which you reside in. It is likely that your family will then have to go into probate. Everyone who is interested will likely need a probate lawyer, and infighting within families begin. Of course, this is not the route anyone wants to go down, and thus the importance of creating and executing your checklist of issues that need to be addressed.
Understanding the Value of Your Estate
Perhaps the most common item that is left out of most wills is the overall value of your estate. The misunderstanding tends to stem from believing that simply having all your assets on paper is enough. The reality of the matter is that it does not. Every asset in your estate is going to have a different valuation, and thus it should have its own number attached to it. Although it can be difficult to get exact value numbers for each item of your home, it is still important to come up with a proper estimate. More valuable and sensitive items such as a business should be a bigger focus. You may bring in a business planning lawyer Las Vegas that can help you determine the value of your business now and even the potential growth of the company. Now, you may be thinking that it’s too soon to place value on property that will only increase in value over time. That is understandable and the reason why wills must be reviewed every few years.
If you’re older and still owe a significant amount in personal debt, it is likely that you will pass on with that debt. This may worry you in terms of what is going to happen to your family once you are no longer around to pay them. Fortunately, there are a few things you can add to your will to ensure that your family is protected. This all begins by separating your secured and unsecured debts. Unsecured debts include debts unrelated to the estate, such as medical bills or credit card debt. Secured debts are anything that gives your creditor the legal right to take your property in order to pay off the debt. Examples of secured debts include car and home loans. This is where many people get into trouble. If they promised a car or a home to their child, that property might not be there if creditors choose to use it to pay off your loan. That is why asset protection lawyer Las Vegas firms highly recommend that you mention these properties specifically within your will. Although not full-proof, it does help minimize the chances of having that asset taken away from your family member.
Choosing Your Beneficiaries
Perhaps the most important part of a will is naming your beneficiaries. These are the people who are going to be receiving something from your estate. However, some will tend to forget to add their own children to the list. Now, this doesn’t come from any malicious intent; the children may be minors at the time of the writing of the will. However, you should still add them (If you want) as the main heirs to your estate, but only if they are adults at the time of your passing. If there is no family left, you may choose to leave your estate to a charity or non-profit organization.
Gather Your Witnesses
Most states require that you bring in at least two witnesses when it is time to sign your will. However, experts recommend that you bring in additional parties to the signing event. In addition, you may also want to look closely at who you choose to sign your witness document. Probate Las Vegas attorneys suggest a close family member and someone who is not in the will themselves as a means of having an unbiased party involved in the event that any disputes arise.