Welcome to the Andris Law Wills & Estates Page
Here are my top 10 reasons to have a will:
1. You decide how your estate will be distributed - If you die without a will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out.
2. You decide who will take care of your minor children - A will allows YOU to decide who will take care of your minor children. Without a will, the Court will decide who will raise your child. It could be a family member that you do not want raising your child or a state-appointed guardian.
3. Avoid a lengthy probate process - All estates must go through probate but having a will speeds up the process. And when you die without a will (“intestate"), the Court will solely decide how to divide your estate and this will also cause long, unnecessary delays in distribution of your assets.
4. Minimize estates taxes - The value of what you give away will reduce the value of your estate when it comes time to pay estate taxes.
5. You choose who will handle the affairs of your estate - Executors make sure all your affairs are in order. You need to make sure you appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy and responsible.
6. Disinheriting individuals otherwise entitled to inherit - Because wills specifically outline how you want your estate distributed, a will can also specifically outline who you do not want to inherit upon your death.
7. Gifts and donations - You can gift to friends, family, or organizations close to your heart.
8. Avoiding legal challenges - If you die without a will, all or part of your estate may pass to someone that you did not intend on receiving from your estate, causing those who were meant to be the intended recipients to become caught up in a long and costly legal battle over distribution of your estate.
9. Life Circumstances Change - You can change your will at any time while you are still alive. Births, deaths and divorce are just some situations where changing the desires of your will are likely necessary.
10. Because tomorrow is never promised - Procrastination and the unwillingness to accept death as part of life are very common reasons for not having a will. Unfortunately, all too often, the realization that a will was necessary comes too late - for example an unexpected death or disability occurs. Having a will, will help to avoid the added stress on families during an already emotional time.
It is almost always recommended that you create a will, power of attorney and medical power of attorney together. A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone else, that you select, to make business, legal and financial decisions on your behalf. This is important in the event you become unable to manage your own affairs, the person you choose will be able to do it for you.
A medical power of attorney allows you to select someone you trust to handle health care decisions on your behalf ONLY if you are unable to do so yourself. For example, coma, vegetative state or any other type of mental condition that impairs or prevents you from making an informed and rational decision on your own behalf.
The power of attorney provides protections during your lifetime, while the will provides protections after your death.
To talk about your estate planning concerns, call Andris Law at 610-585-1256.