Creating and Dealing with Wills: Three Instances Where You Need an Expert Estate Planning Lawyer
Making a will enables you to decide who shall carry out your wishes, who to appoint as heirs, which ones to disinherit, or how you want to distribute your assets while you are still alive. However, unless you happen to be an estate planner yourself, do not take matters related to estate administration lightly. The need for witnesses, for example, is not as simple as it sounds. Estate law requires two witnesses who must be in the same room as you and must have witnessed the actual signing of the document.
There were countless instances where probate laws did not work in the decedent’s family’s favor and they eventually found themselves at a disadvantage. Having yourself assisted by a legal professional helps ensure the validity of the will you drafted. This will prevent your surviving family members from getting entangled with intestacy laws.
Drafting a will, formally setting up one for yourself, or dealing with that of a loved one follow a certain legal process. Your estate attorney can help explain provisions of estate law that are relevant to your specific preferences and circumstances. While you would need one in almost any proceeding, a good estate planning attorney will especially be useful in the following instances:
1) You want to create a will but the list of heirs and beneficiaries you want to appoint is complicated
If you are planning to write a will but can foresee that an heir or a beneficiary will likely be contesting it when you die, contact an estate plan lawyer. When you make a will, you are usually distributing your personal property to your surviving spouse, children, or even grandchildren. However, estate planning is sometimes not as straight-forward.
Someone contesting a will is not as uncommon as it seems. Drafting a will that you yourself think would likely be contested can cause unnecessary stress (to your spouse or other surviving family members) when you pass away.
2) You found out that a deceased elder or relative who made you a beneficiary was able to inherit after death
Naming beneficiaries is very important, since you could, in theory, still be transferring property to them even after you die. Following provisions on designation, one can distribute assets of the estate of a deceased person to another estate. Your great-grandmother’s estate assets, for example, could become part of your grandmother’s inheritance, even if both of them already passed away. This is why creating a will is a really serious matter.
If you were informed that a deceased family member, who was able to designate you as a beneficiary in his or her last will and testament, was able to ‘inherit’, you might be in for a surprise. Contact a wills and estates lawyer right away.
If you want to know more about the probate code or if you find yourself in probate court
Writing a will is not something you can do by yourself. You need a will that was written with the help of someone knowledgeable on wills and probate law. The last thing you want is for your loved ones to not be able to make decisions for themselves and instead get involved in the tedious probate process.
In contrast, as much as you would want to avoid probate, you might find yourself dealing with matters in the probate court. Avoiding probate complications is possible when you contact the right law firm. A lawyer knowledgeable on wills and other estate planning documents can help you tremendously.
Very few people are familiar with estate planning law. Last wills and testaments are legal documents. Like any other legal document, it must be taken very seriously if you want to avoid problematic consequences. As such, it is recommended that you get legal help when creating a will.
For questions on preparing a will, probate, estate planning, or even on living wills, power of attorney, or succession in the state of Washington, contact us at James A. Jones Attorney At Law.