No one likes to talk about death, but it is a salient part of life and must be dealt with. This is especially the case if you have accumulated a large fortune or possess a stake in various businesses. You want the final word on the division and distribution of your estate after your death. The only way to ensure that happens is to draw up a will. An experienced and expert estate planning attorney such as the ones found at Dickson Frohlich can help you execute this task.
Why You Need A Will
If you do not have a legal will at the time of your death, your estate will be intestate. That means a probate judge will have the power to decide who gets what. It is better for you to make these decisions. You may want to leave your family the bulk of your wealth and leave the control of your business interests to a trusted partner or colleague. This kind of decision can have huge ramifications for the careers and livelihoods of thousands of people. If you have spent your life building up a business, you must ensure that it is left in strong and capable hands when you have departed.
Common Mistakes in Estate Planning
Estate planning and the making of your will should be based on your desires and preferences. A lawyer will help you think through everything, so that your final wishes are expressed clearly to your family, friends, and business partners in a binding legal document.
Here are some of the common mistakes in estate planning:
- Failure to Keep the Document Current
After you have created your will you should revisit and update it from time to time. Circumstances change and your will should reflect that. Intended heirs may die before you or come into some other fortune, and you will need to adjust your will accordingly.
- Failure to be Clear
Your estate plan should consist of documents that are clear and to the point. They should state exactly who gets what. Period. Attaching strange or unusual conditions for heirs to satisfy will only create disharmony and discord in your family and may even lead to legal challenges which may hold up in court.
- Altering a Will for the Wrong Reasons
You should never alter your will in the heat of passion. Family members may disappoint you, but that is no reason to cut them from your will. Indeed, changing your will should only be done after long and deep reflection.
If You Are Incapacitated
In addition to creating a will, you should create a power of attorney to be used in the event of your incapacitation. If at any point in the future you are unable to make decisions about your estate or even your medical care, you want to appoint someone you trust to act on your behalf. Such a decision must be thought through carefully as the person will have the ability to make critical choices about your treatment and care.