What Clients Should Ask A Wills Lawyer About
Creating or modifying wills can be a complicated process. If you're getting ready to do so, it's wise to consult with a wills lawyer. When you visit an attorney, you should ask them about these five topics.
The most important part of a will is the use of clear legal terminology to convey your intent. You should always be painfully detailed and thorough about what you want to see become of your legacy. Always explicitly name the beneficiaries and identify the specific assets you're directing to them.
For example, you never want to assign assets to your grandchildren as a group. If a new grandchild enters the family, ask a wills lawyer about revising the existing documents or drafting new ones. Naming names goes a long way toward ensuring that people will understand your intentions.
Tax Benefits and Disadvantages
A major goal throughout the process should be to maximize tax benefits and avoid disadvantages wherever possible. For example, you can usually transfer assets to a surviving spouse without realizing a tax event. Likewise, you want to minimize the basic costs for beneficiaries whenever there is a tax event so they're not on the hook for huge tax bills. Where you can't avoid running into taxes, try to fund the estate so the beneficiaries will have the money needed to cover the costs. This is especially important if you're going to transfer assets to beneficiaries who might not be financially able to handle the costs.
Creditors and tax agencies are among the first claimants on your estate. In fact, they can force your estate into bankruptcy if it proves unable to pay them in full.
You want to be sure that your will creates an estate structure that'll have no trouble resolving your outstanding debts and tax bills. Fund the resolution of your debts fully. Authorize the executor to then distribute any remaining money after interest, fees, and other expenses.
Issues Other Than Death
People often overlook non-death issues. You should have an advance medical directive that tells people what to do if you fall gravely ill or are otherwise incapacitated. Similar terms should cover a disappearance. Your estate should have the power to maintain your affairs competently if you're not present to direct them.
Reviews and Revisions
Finally, you should schedule a review with a wills lawyer every couple of years. They can tell you whether you need to revise the estate and how to do it without creating confusion.