If there is one thing that is inevitable in life, it is death. Let’s face it—at some point in time, you will pass on. Although death can always come as an untimely surprise, you can prepare for this eventuality by leaving a will that not only takes care of your deathbed wishes but can give your family and loved ones some peace of mind after you’re gone. We will discuss how legal counsel can help you compose your will.
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that identifies how your assets will be disposed of and how any minors in your care will be taken care of after you die. There are two kinds of wills: the last will and testament and the living will. Knowing the advantages of having both and how to write a will can provide you and your loved ones security in case the unavoidable happens.
Last Will vs. Living Will
A last will and testament is a final declaration of your wishes and directives and expresses in writing how you want your properties, valuables, and minor children to be taken care of after your passing. The will names your spouse, children, family members, or whoever you want to have as your heirs as your wealth beneficiaries. It determines the exact portion they can get from your assets. The document also contains detailed instructions on how the will is to be carried out by appointing an executor for the will and appointing someone as a guardian if you still have children under the age of 18.
In contrast, a living will specify how you want to be cared for if you become incapacitated or unable to communicate. It informs family members and medical professionals regarding your desires if you are in a life-threatening situation that may require critical care, such as tube-feeding or the need for pain medication. A living will also guarantee that you obtain the best care possible as you reach old age or senility and ensures that your interests are preserved should any untoward occur.
Both types of wills require immediate concern for everyone, so it is best to draft one while you can. Thus, it advisable to compose one even if there is no apparent need as wills prepare you, your holdings, and your intended beneficiaries for the inevitable. Wills also ensure security, as it safeguards you and your family from the probability of life-threatening situations and in the event of death.
While some may say that wills are easy to make due to ready-made templates one can download from the internet, a will can actually do more harm than good if it is vague, out-of-date, or does not conform to state laws. It may also cause unnecessary strain and costs to the ones you left behind if it gets contested, needs lengthy settlement in probate court, or, worse, is deemed void by the law.
The Need for Legal Counsel
A will often start with a longing to ensure that everything you possess goes to the intended person or purpose—in the case of a living will, it makes sure that you are given proper elderly or end-of-life care. You can draw up a list of all your assets and planned beneficiaries and then consult with a lawyer to ensure that you’ve got everything—and everyone—covered. Since a last will and testament is a legal document, legal counsel, will and estate planning lawyers, in particular, can assist you on how to create a last will and testament. Not only do they give you advice on how to execute this document, but they also provide you with several other options on how you can handle your assets in the future.
Lawyers can help you compose your will by making sure that it is:
- Legally Binding. Lawyers ensure that your will is valid and that its wording conforms to existing estate laws and all other applicable tenets. It must reflect that you are of a sound disposition at the time of writing and that your wishes are expressed in such a way that it provides succinct details on how your properties will be managed. Lawyers also ensure that your will is updated to reflect your current circumstance and include additional assets so as not to commit mistakes that may cause your will to be contested or deemed void.
- Covers all assets and intended beneficiaries. A well-drafted will provides a comprehensive list of all your assets, their locations, and how they will be distributed. It also reflects your personal relationship with heirs and beneficiaries and, at the same time, provide clear instructions as to how and when these assets can be made available to legal heirs. Not only does a will allocate your properties and valuables to named heirs, as it can also provide appropriate care for the ones you leave behind. A sound will also appoint an executor and designate a guardian for children under 18.
- Explores all eventualities. Legal counsel can provide you with a perspective that anticipates all possible scenarios and helps you plan for contingencies. They open you to possibilities if you outlive the heir or executor or if the asset you intend to bequeath no longer exists. Their experience and expertise can help you prepare a will that can encompass these scenarios.
Composing a will with a legal counsel’s assistance proves to be beneficial as their service ensures that your will is current and legally binding. Both living and last will have their advantages—a living will ensures appropriate care for you in the advent of illness or incapacity, while a last will serves to secure both your assets and your loved ones. Will and estate planning lawyers are in the best position to help you create both living and last will to reflect your desires. Wills not only function for distributing your inheritance to your loved ones, but they do serve as an assurance that the wealth you worked for is given to secure the ones you will leave behind.
Featured Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay