Preparing a will may seem like a relatively straightforward process that doesn’t require an attorney, especially if you don’t have significant assets or complex investments. However, it can be surprisingly complicated, and even minor errors leave your estate open to legal challenges. The following do’s and don’ts will protect your loved ones and ensure your final wishes are respected.
Choose your executor carefully.
An executor is the individual charged with guiding your estate through the probate process, paying off debts, and distributing assets to your beneficiaries. The probate process can be long and technical, so choose a responsible person with excellent organizational skills.
Update your will regularly.
The birth of a child, marriage, or divorce can all have a dramatic impact on your estate plan, and unexpected issues could arise if you pass away with an outdated will. For instance, any provisions benefiting a former spouse could be invalidated, with those assets distributed according to your state’s intestacy laws. You should also update your plan if you’ve acquired significant assets, sold items described in the will, or the person chosen as your executor is no longer able to serve.
Wait to make an estate plan.
Planning your estate means contemplating some unpleasant scenarios most people would rather not think about. However, accidents can happen at any time, so even young, healthy people should write a will.
Do it alone.
Many online resources and books claim to make writing a will easy, but those tools can’t offer advice based on your unique situation. An attorney has the experience to draft a will that clearly expresses your wishes and will ensure your estate planning documents are legally valid.
Since 1988, Darryl L. Jones, Attorney at Law in Palmer, AK, has offered effective legal support and advice to families throughout Anchorage and the Matsu Valley. This firm takes pride in helping clients through difficult times, from criminal defense proceedings to child custody issues. Visit their website for a look at their legal services, or call (907) 746-9851 to schedule a consultation with an attorney.