Wills Lawyers in Georgia Assisting You With All Your Estate Planning Needs
Have you considered what would happen to your family if you were gone? This is difficult to think about, but planning for the unthinkable can be one of the best gifts you can give your family. The world is unpredictable, so it is wise to plan for the unexpected. Having a well-planned, valid will in place ensures that your assets benefit the people or organizations you care about. If you don’t make your wishes known, it is up to the state and the courts to decide what happens to your estate. Having a will allows you to make these important decisions for yourself. Contact Georgia Wills, Trusts, and Probate Firm, LLC today at (770) 795-4992 to consult with a knowledgeable wills lawyer about your options.
What Is a Will?
In the most basic terms, a will is a document that describes how an owner of property would like that property to be disposed of after they die. The people who will receive the assets are known as beneficiaries or heirs. For a will to be valid under the law, it must meet certain requirements. One of these requirements for most types of wills is that they need to be witnessed by one or more people. A witness is someone who can confirm that you are the person you claim to be and that you willingly wrote or oversaw the writing of the document.
There are other legal requirements that also must be met for a will to be considered valid. For example, you must be considered mentally capable of creating or changing a will. This prevents an unscrupulous person from taking advantage of someone who is disabled, senile, or vulnerable and forcing them to create a will in their favor. A will is also not considered valid if your beneficiary’s inheritance depends on meeting unreasonable or cruel conditions. And, of course, if you don’t actually own the items you are attempting to distribute in your will, then it won’t hold up in a court of law either. There are other issues that can invalidate a will as well so it is recommended to consult a lawyer to be certain your will is created properly and legally.
Do You Need a Will?
There are no minimum asset requirements for creating a will. Anyone who owns personal property, real estate, bank accounts, investments, or other assets should consider making a will to ensure these assets are distributed according to their wishes after they pass away. If you die without having a will, this is called dying intestate. If a person dies intestate, their assets go through probate court and are distributed according to state law and the discretion of the court. This is a time-consuming and costly process for your loved ones, and the resulting distribution likely will not match what you would have chosen.
Some people think of wills as only being necessary for the wealthy, but the reality is that wills are often most important for families of modest means who would be greatly harmed by the loss of assets and the delay and costs of a long probate process. A will ensures that your family will be protected in the event of your demise. Even if you are young it is vital to plan for any potential misfortunes. It is better to have a will in place too soon than to not have one and leave your family struggling.
When Should You Update Your Will?
A will is generally not a “one and done” type of document. Your life is constantly changing. For a will to be effective, it needs to stay current with your assets and the important people in your life. An outdated will can be nearly as bad as having no will at all and could lead to legal issues for your loved ones after you are gone. To prevent this, you should reevaluate and update your will after any major life event. This can include losing a loved one, marriage, divorce, birth of a child or grandchild, buying a home, or starting a business. A good lawyer will build a relationship with you, so you can feel comfortable reaching out to look at your will and estate plan with them as your life progresses and changes.
What Are the Advantages to Having a Lawyer Draft Your Will?
Many websites today advertise generic downloadable do-it-yourself last will forms for a small fee. These seem like affordable options, but depending on your situation, they could actually cost your family money in the long run. In the worst-case scenario, you may end up with a will that is not valid and your family may be subject to a long and complicated probate process and your loved ones may not receive everything you intended. Most individuals are not well-versed in their state’s tax and estate laws, and this lack of knowledge can leave your loved ones in a tough situation if you do not cover all of your assets properly in your will.
A Marietta lawyer with estate planning skills can draft a will that meets your specific situation and goals, ensuring that your assets are properly distributed to your heirs according to your wishes. A lawyer can also help you find strategies to minimize or avoid some taxes and fees related to transferring your estate. Georgia Wills, Trusts, and Probate Firm, LLC can assist you in drafting a comprehensive will that covers all your needs and can give you and your loved ones peace of mind. For a strategy session, call us at (770) 795-4992 today. We’re here to help you.