Why You Shouldn’t Write Your Own Will
Our Folsom estate planning lawyer from Yee Law Group knows that having a proper will in place can ensure your final wishes are carried out and that your family members are taken care of. However, you shouldn’t attempt to write your will by yourself. Although there are plenty of DIY will software programs available, you should think twice about using them. Wills are complicated legal documents and it’s easy to make mistakes if you don’t have a legal background.
Here are some reasons to avoid writing your own will:
You Might Not Think About Alternate Scenarios
Life doesn’t always work out the way you expect it to. For example, many parents assume their children will outlive them and leave their property to them. Unfortunately, however, some children die before their parents do. That’s why it’s important to consider alternate scenarios when writing your will. An experienced lawyer will talk about some alternate scenarios with you and help you address them.
You Might Not Understand Certain Legal Terms
If you don’t have a legal background, certain legal terms can be really confusing. If you attempt to write your own will through a software program, you might come across some terms that you don’t understand. This can cause you to make errors on your will that could render it invalid. If you work with a lawyer, he or she will explain all the legal terms and help you avoid making mistakes.
You Might Select the Wrong Executor
The executor is the person responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out and distributing your assets to the proper heirs. That’s why it’s important to be selective. Don’t name your sibling or best friend, for example, if he or she doesn’t have good relationships with the beneficiaries. An estate planning lawyer can help you choose the proper executor of your will.
You May Miss Important Tax Planning Strategies
Considering tax issues is an essential part of estate planning. If you draft your own will without knowledge of tax implications, you could cost yourself and loved ones more money. An estate planning lawyer can explain these tax implications and help you save more money in the future.
You May Deal With Outdated Forms
Forms for wills online might not reflect recent changes in legal requirements. Estate planning lawyers, on the other hand, stay up-to-date with law changes and will make sure your estate planning documents remain effective.
As you can see, there are many downsides to using DIY will software. If you’re ready to draft a will, schedule a meeting with a reputable Folsom estate planning lawyer today.
Estate Planning for Spouses
Up to 70 percent of married couples fail to have an estate plan in place. Sometimes they might recognize the benefits of creating one, but fail to do so for one reason or another. In other instances, an estate plan might exist, but has not been updated over the passing years. Failure to have an estate plan, or failure to update it, can cause critical issues. As an estate planning lawyer, we aim to help married couples create a sound estate plan that is up to date with their life and wishes. The following are some important considerations for spouses to think about. By doing so, a number of potential problems, particularly associated with surviving spouses, can be avoided.
Identify Common Challenges
Before you know what strategies can be utilized, it is important to take time to identify some common challenges that spouses might face (especially a surviving spouse):
- Assets have been forgotten about and, as a result, were not included in the estate plan.
- Financial assets have been held in a separate account. If a spouse dies and these assets have no beneficiary and were not placed in a trust, they will need to go through probate.
- A trust was created, but assets were not transferred into them. This can lead to tax liability and extra costs.
- Sometimes a spouse will pass away before they finalize their estate plan. This can cause a number of problems, including beneficiaries not receiving what was intended for them.
Regularly Review the Estate Plan
It is important that the estate plan is reviewed on a regular basis. This should be done while both spouses are alive, but also once one spouse passes away. Some estate plans come with clauses that grant the surviving spouse a second look. This is an opportunity to assess whether or not what is included in the estate plan is still optimal.
During the review process, a surviving spouse should observe all beneficiary designations on documents like life insurance and bank accounts. The surviving spouse will have a duty to name a new beneficiary who will have access to the accounts upon their death.
The majority of assets are passed through wills or trusts. However, if there are any benefits involved, a surviving spouse will need to claim them from the government or their deceased spouse’s employer. If you are in this situation and unsure about what to do, call an estate planning lawyer for help.
Ideally, both you and your spouse will be ready to plan your estate well in advance. The issues that could arise can easily be avoided through proper planning, thought, and strategy. As an estate planning lawyer, we will be happy to guide you through the process as effortlessly as possible. Call Yee Law Group today.
Learn What You Should Know When Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer
We understand that when you are deciding who should get certain assets after you pass away, the task can become quite arduous and overwhelming. However, when you have the help of a estate planning lawyer, you know you can get a second opinion on whether you are making the right decisions and what kinds of things you should put in your will or trust. You may have certain concerns regarding estate planning, like whether your estate will need to go through probate or whether you can leave most of your assets to one person. When you work with an attorney, they can help guide you through your state’s laws and regulations and how to divide assets.
How else can an estate planning lawyer help?
Many people are hesitant to get the help of an attorney when it comes to planning their estate. After all, you are the one who owns your assets and you know who they should go to after you pass away. However, your attorney will dive deeply into your history to ensure you aren’t forgetting important pieces of property or assets that, if forgotten, may go to someone you do not want them to. Other things your awyer can help with are:
- End-of-life situations. Unfortunately, there may come a time when you are no longer able to make specific decisions about your health or life anymore. This is why it’s important that you assign someone you trust to the power of attorney. Your attorney can walk you through the whole process.
- Minimizing taxes. It’s true; taxes will continue to follow you throughout the rest of your life. Your attorney will help you make decisions that can minimize the amount of taxes your estate owes so that as much of your hard-earned money can go directly to your beneficiaries or charities of your choice.
- Listing things you may have forgotten. When it comes to creating a document that assigns assets to people you love or tells your family what you wish, it can be easy to forget things. Your attorney has done this for many years and will remind you of things you may wish to place in these documents. When you work with a lawyer you can rely on, you can ensure you are maximizing your ability to give generously to your loved ones.
Tips For Creating Your Estate Plan
Working with an estate planning legal team can help you clearly map out a plan that is personalized for you. Some people may be tempted to use an online program to draft their estate planning needs. However, the downside to this is that you miss the opportunity to add in customizations or preferences. Here are more tips that your lawyer may suggest as your guide for all things estate planning:
Document Your Wishes
The estate plan must list what you want to happen to your assets, property, and belongings after you pass on. If you don’t have an estate plan, then this leaves your legacy vulnerable to the probate process. Essentially, what this means is the court will have control over your assets and distribute them based on state laws. Most people don’t want this to happen, so creating an estate plan is always in your best interest. Your estate planning lawyer can help you with the following:
- A healthcare power of attorney: the person you prefer to make health related decisions for you if you are unable to.
- Durable power of attorney: this person will make financial choices if you are unable to.
- Living will: instructions for what you want and do not want in regards to your assets.
- Last will and testament: enables you to choose beneficiaries for your assets and guardian of minor children and pets.
- Health insurance release forms: named parties will have access to your healthcare details.
Appoint a Guardian for Dependents
You will need to appoint a guardian who will take care of your dependents, such as minor children, disabiled relatives, or pets, in the event of your death. If you do not do so, then the court judge will appoint one instead. It is important that you speak with your preferredguardian beforehand, to confirm they are willing and able to take on this role. Furthermore, naming a couple as co-guardians may gettrick if they divorce in the future. Your estate planning lawyer can assess your draft for nuances like these to help prevent issues from coming up in the future.
Keep Beneficiaries Informed
We may suggest sharing with beneficiaries about your estate plan and what assets are going to be distributed to them in the future. You can share as much or as little details as you are comfortable with with your beneficiaries. It can help if they have some idea of what to anticipate in the future, so they can make sure your legacy is carried out as you have expressed. Talking about passing away with your beneficiaries can feel odd, but is an important step in making sure all bases are covered.
For more information and tips about establishing a strong estate plan, reach out to a trusted estate planning lawyer in Folsom, CA from Yee Law Group, P.C. today.
“Mike Yee and his team are amazing. They are fast and efficient, but you don’t feel rushed at all when meeting with them. Mike in particular is extremely patient, knowledgeable and articulate, and made the whole process as pleasant as writing legal documents can be. Highly recommended.”