Do you have a will? A simple will is inexpensive, and it makes important directives such as the care of your minor children and the disposition of your property upon your death. There are at least eight reasons you should get one.
1. You determine the division of your assets. If you do not have a will in place, the State of Ohio will determine how your real property, tangible personal property, money, and other probate assets will be distributed.
2. You determine who will care for your minor children. Without a will, a court is left to make a decision that it feels would be in the best interests of your children. Surviving family members will be left to guess what your intentions may have been, which could lead to discord in the family and uncertainty or instability for your minor children.
3. You can make sure that your minor children do the right thing with their inheritance. If you have minor children, you can also create a "spendthrift trust" so that your assets can only be used for the children's health, education, maintenance and support - not a Ferrari.
4. You can make special provisions. Perhaps you want your grandfather's shotgun to go to your son and your wedding set to go to your daughter. Maybe you have special instructions for the care of your pet. You may want to leave some money for grandchildren or friends. Or you want to donate to other entities, such as your church or a charity of your choice. A will lets you make these sorts of directives.
5. You can disinherit heirs so that your assets don't go to the wrong people. Sometimes, a child receives their portion of their inheritance during their lifetime. Other times, a wayward child may not use their inheritance for their own edification. A will gives you the power to disinherit those who might otherwise naturally inherit your property.
6. Avoid legal challenges to your estate. Anybody can sue anybody in our society, but a properly executed will, drafted by a licensed attorney makes it much less likely that a will can and will be successfully challenged. Unfortunately, siblings often dispute the division of parents' assets upon their passing. I have counseled prospective clients away from filing probate disputes because there was a well-drafted, properly executed, valid will.
7. Streamline probate. Whether or not you have a will, if you have assets of substantial value, a probate court will divide your probate assets. A will determines who will be the Executor or Executrix of your estate. It determines how you want your assets divided.
8. A will is inexpensive. I ordinarily charge $125 for the creation of a will, and this service is discounted from time to time on a promotional basis. If you like Attorney Boyd Law Office, Ltd. on facebook, the fee is only $75. You can have your will finalized from start to finish in only days, and if you change your mind, you can always revoke it later.
Why stop at a will? There are other estate planning options that you should consider:
- A Transfer on Death Affidavit will keep your real estate out of probate.
- A Living Will gives advanced directives in the event that two doctors determine that you are in a permanently unconscious state and you do not want to have artificial hydration and nutrition (feeding tubes). This document is extremely important because it prevents a potential argument between a loved one's spouse and parent (remember the Terri Schiavo case?).
- A Health Care Power of Attorney is not always necessary, but it is good to have, especially if one is in advanced years. It determines who should make medical decisions in the event you are unable to do so because of unconsciousness or the incapacity to make medical decisions for your well being on your own.
- Durable Powers of Attorney are also not always necessary, but they allow you to grant the authority to another person to make financial decisions (such as buying and selling property, paying debts) while you are unable to do so.
All of these items are affordable and can be drafted in short order. Whether you are planning on traveling in the near future, or just want to make final provisions because the future is uncertain, call me today for a free consultation.