Estate planning is important as you grow older. The professionals at Elder Care Direction are available to offer you some guidance as you plan for your golden years. One thing you’ve likely heard is that you should write a will at a minimum. If you do not have a will when you die, your state will decide who will receive your property. If you have minor children, a court may decide who will raise them. You can make these decisions yourself by writing a will.
If you need a basic will
If you determine that you only need a basic will, it is possible for you to use software or a book to draft a will that is legally binding and that will accomplish the following goals:
- Transfers your property to the people you choose
- Names a guardian to care for your children
- Names someone to manage the property that you leave to minor children
- Names an executor to carry out the terms of your will
If you are younger than age 50 and don’t believe that you will leave behind enough assets for your family to be exposed to estate taxes, a basic will is likely good enough for your needs. You may need to conduct more complex planning as you grow older.
Do basic wills avoid probate?
If you plan to leave more than a small number of assets, your estate will likely be probated after you die. Probate can take up to a year and may cost up to five percent of the value of your estate in court and attorneys’ fees. Your beneficiaries will also receive very little until the process is finished.
If you only need to have a basic will, it doesn’t make much sense to be overly concerned about probate. If you are still young and healthy, you will likely have time later to plan for avoiding probate.
When you might need a more complex will
A basic will might not be enough for you if any of the following situations apply:
- Estate taxes will be owed after you or your spouse dies;
- You want to maintain control over the property after you die;
- You have a child with special needs;
- You have children from a previous marriage; or
- You believe someone might file a will contest.
Creating a basic will
You are able to create a basic will on your own with software or a good book. It is normally not necessary to hire a lawyer to create a basic will. The professionals at Elder Care Direction can offer you some guidance. If you determine that your estate planning needs are more complex, we can refer you to a prescreened attorney partner. Call us today to schedule a consultation.