Attorneys for wills - what they do
A will is one of the most well know legal tools to manage a person’s final affairs and estate after death. At best, a will is quite simple; it is a written document that effectively provides the instructions and ground rules as to how a decedent’s property will be distributed. In theory, it can be a simple and efficient way to manage an estate.
However, when not prepared properly, the process of distributing a decedent’s estate can become convoluted when trying to interpret the wishes of someone who is no longer with us. Furthermore, in the worst case a will can be subject to will contests or costly and time-consuming challenges to how the will distributes property to beneficiaries.
The most common reason for a will to be tied up in probate court by challenges to a will is attributed to ambiguous language in the will. These problems can include not properly executing modifications to the will or not aligning the will with long-term estate planning goals of the will maker. By hiring an experienced attorney for wills, the risk of a will being subjected to costly and time-consuming will contests in probate court can be reduced significantly.
One of the most important tasks carried out by attorneys specializing in wills involves establishing an estate plan through which the will acts as the primary means of executing this plan. In this capacity, drafting a will means committing your estate plan to a formal document.
As such, planning, your will is the most important part of the process. In planning your will, it is important to consider how you want your affairs to be handled. Think about the needs of your surviving family and concrete requests you may have regarding how your estate is to be handled.
All of this information and any specific instructions must be clearly established in your will. It is crucial that nothing be left to interpretation, which will lead to confusion and potential litigation. In the light of these concerns, an attorney who understands the nuances of the law governing wills and financial and legal implications of a particular estate planning strategy is necessary.
Attorneys that do wills understand that a will represents the final wishes of a decedent and that changes can occur during the will maker’s life that warrant modifying a will. Hiring an attorney for will preparation not only involves the initial drafting of the will, but also addressing changing circumstances that occur after the initial will is drafted.
Commonly, changes occur in family status, the amount of assets in the estate, or the distribution plan of estate assets such as including or excluding individual beneficiaries or property. In this case, attorneys for wills are often called upon to make sure that the will adapts appropriately to these changes.
A will can be revoked or changed at any time before the death of the will-maker however there are certain, legal requirements that must be met in order for the modified version of the will to be treated as legally binding. An experienced attorney for wills can explain the process of will modification and explain when a modification is necessary or the impact a modification will have on your long-term estate plan.
Besides ensuring that the legal requirements of a valid and binding will are met, attorneys for wills and trusts also manage a number of the administrative aspects of a will.
For example, an experienced attorney who handles wills can be certain that the will is properly finalized. To finalize your will in California, you must sign it in front of two witnesses. Notarizing the signatures on your will is not a required step for a legally binding will; however, if notarized an extra layer of protection is offered as a Court can automatically assume the signatures your will are valid.
There is no need to file your will with the Court most people keep it in a safe place where their relatives can find it when needed. Filing the will with the Court has the advantage of making sure an official copy is always available.
An experienced attorney who handles wills and trusts can provide you with the appropriate steps needed to be certain the instructions contained in your will are easily understood and reach the right parties when needed.
An attorney for wills and trusts can provide legal advice regarding what to expect from a will and the steps needed to protect estate assets. Finding an experienced attorney for wills offers a measure of protection for those administering an estate.
Further it can reduce a great deal of uncertainty for those who wish to pass on assets to loved ones knowing that their will have been properly prepared and will be effective when needed.
Attorneys for wills - what they do