Plan Early, Plan Well: 7 Reasons Why It’s Smart to Draft a Will With a Probate Lawyer

When asked, 56% of people agree with the importance of having a will done. Yet, only one out of every three people actually has one. It’s easy to understand why you might want to avoid thinking about a will. Nobody wants to imagine a time when they aren’t alive anymore or how that will impact their loved ones. Still, working with a probate lawyer and an estate planner would protect your loved ones. There are many other reasons to make a will and be sure it’s done the right way.

Read on for the seven reasons to make it a priority to work with an estate planning lawyer and get a will written.

1. Protects Beneficiaries

For many folks in the retirement age range, you only made a will if you had a lot of wealth. Now, there are more reasons to make sure you have a will.

You want a will if:

  • You and/or your spouse are breadwinners for the family
  • You have retirement accounts or investments
  • You own a home

Now, more than ever, you don’t have to be considered uber-wealthy to have some money set aside.

You also want to ensure that any of those investments, assets or your home goes to your beneficiaries. Without a will, there’s no guarantee of how your assets will be divided in probate.

2. Dictates a Plan for Children

This is a hard one. Nobody likes to imagine dying at a young age and leaving behind young children. But if you have children, you will dictate exactly how they will be cared for and by whom.

The estate planning lawyer can help you draft your will, so it spells out your exact wishes for your children. This might include who will provide their care and act as a guardian for them if you’re not around.

It can also spell out financial expectations for them. How do you wish your money to be used on their behalf?

If you don’t have this spelled out, the court will be forced to decide on your behalf.

3. Avoid Probate

One important reason to work with an estate attorney is to avoid probate. Probate is the legal process that happens when a will is reviewed or there’s no will in place, and the court must step in.

Probate can be an expensive and time-consuming process for beneficiaries to navigate if there isn’t a will. It’s also a matter of public record, so none of your affairs are private anymore.

If you have any assets, wealth, or own property, navigating probate can take long. It also costs the estate money. It can usually be avoided or be very limited by some careful planning, and a legally drawn-up will

4. Saves Heirs Tax Money

You know the adage, there are two things guaranteed in life, death and taxes. In this case, you don’t want your death to cost your family more in taxes.

An experienced probate attorney can help protect your assets upon your death, so your heirs aren’t stuck with a big tax bill to the IRS.

Your will can name all your assets and who you intend to inherit them. Any insurance policies or investments should have beneficiaries named.

With preplanning, you can sometimes protect the assets from taxes by investing them a certain way or putting them into a trust.

5. Avoid Family Squabbles

It’s a movie, book, or TV script as old as time. A person dies, and the family goes to war, fighting over who gets their things.

One sibling handles things for the deceased parents, so they think they should get more. One sibling is part of a family business, and the others are not. A family member shows up out of the blue when it’s time to divide the money and assets.

Money brings out the worst in people. You can stop any fighting or legal disputes before they get started by spelling all of your intentions out in the will. Then nobody can put a claim on something when you don’t intend it that way.

6. Business Succession

An essential part of being a successful business owner is also planning for what happens to the business when you’re no longer available to take care of it.

Part of your will should address your business succession plan. Do you intend for a family member to take over the business? What if you have one family member in the business and another who is not?

There are also tax implications for the business you want to address. Spell out how you wish your business to be handled and by whom in the will to avoid costs and complications.

7. Philanthropy

Many people spend much of their adult life supporting specific charities and organizations.

You may have a charity that’s important to you that you wish to support with assets following your death.

There are smart ways to avoid tax implications for the charity. You might put some assets into a non-Roth IRA, and the charity inherits the IRA.

You might also just wish to name certain charitable groups to whom you’d like to give some of your wealth when you’re gone.

Get the Help of a  Probate Lawyer for All Your Estate Planning Needs

Even if you know how to make a will, working with a probate lawyer can help protect your loved ones and your assets by doing careful estate planning.

If you want help writing a will or doing estate planning so your heirs can avoid the hassles of probate, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our estate planning services.