There are a large number of Americans who do not have a last will and testament. Contemplating one’s own death is difficult, and many people are unsure about how best to disperse their assets. The highly mobile nature of many families and the different types of family units complicates the process further for many. Extended families, second and third families, children from a first marriage, courtesy aunts or uncles and other relations create legal complexities. Family issues may be exacerbated when someone dies without a will or with a will that is improperly written and can be contested.
I help individuals and couples in creating simple and complex wills that are tailored to their specific needs. If you need assistance with your last will and testament, you can trust that I will create a document with a foundation that will hold up in probate court, should it be contested. I will listen and ensure that your will truly reflects your wishes for asset transfers, minimization of creation of testamentary trusts, naming of guardians for minor children and other issues.
Make Your Wishes Known With the Help of a Virginia Estate Planning Attorney.
There are do-it-yourself will kits on the market, but I do not recommend them. The kits do not deal with complex family situations, high value assets, adopted children, multiple marriages, common law spouses or other family arrangements. If you write out a will that is ultimately deemed to not be legal and executable, your assets will not be dispersed as you wish. Your family could be faced with extended, costly legal battles. If you want a will that will stand up in court, or up against a challenge by someone, then consult with an experienced lawyer.
Once you and your estate planning attorney have drafted a will, you should revisit it as you experience life changes. The law, your financial circumstances, your family circumstances and your objectives will evolve over time. For example, when you first wrote your will, you may have been married but are now divorced. You may have adopted children or become the guardian for an elder family member. A will can be updated by creating a new will or by adding an amendment to the will (known as a codicil). Wills and codicils must be drafted and witnessed in specific ways to be valid. I can advise you on the relevant rules.
Be sure to choose a trusted executor to carry out your wishes. Consider appointing successor executors to make sure the will is properly executed should the primary executor become unable to perform his or her duties. If you are married, you may also want to discuss potential outcomes should you and your spouse both die at the same time.
Too many people believe that wills are only for the rich. This is not the case. Everyone can benefit from a properly drafted will.
My law firm focuses on your family. Contact me at my Vienna, Virginia, law office to discuss your case. I am always happy to speak with you.