Charlottesville Wills Attorney
Avoid Common Will Mistakes by Speaking with Our Charlottesville Will Lawyer
A will serves as the foundation of most estate plans. With this document, you can determine who will inherit many of your assets. You can also name the guardians for any minor children.
Drafting a will is complicated. Many people wrongly assume that they can use an online program or CD to create a will for themselves. When a will is drafted improperly, a court must reject it, which can throw your estate into chaos. Rather than take any risks, reach out to one of our Charlottesville will attorneys today.
Leaving Estate Assets
One of the primary purposes of having a will is to leave estate assets to beneficiaries. Without any estate plan, your estate gets divided according to state intestacy laws, and certain relatives might receive assets when you don’t want them to get anything. Drafting a will is one way to take control of who receives your property after you die.
Of course, not all assets pass via a will. If you have life insurance or retirement accounts, you name a beneficiary on the policy. Other accounts can be “payable on death” so they do not pass by probate. For this reason, drafting a will must be part of a comprehensive estate plan.
It is possible to disinherit a child, meaning you leave them nothing, but doing so can invite a will contest. Your attorney can help draft the will in such a way that you minimize the risks of probate litigation.
Naming a Personal Representative
Our clients also name a personal representative in their wills. This person has a big role to play after your death. He or she will gather your estate assets, publish notice of your death, file tax returns, and settle any claims against your estate.
If someone sues your estate, your representative will defend it. Likewise, your estate might need to sue another entity to recover money. The representative is tasked with handling that as well.
Choosing the right personal representative is critical. This person should be careful, knowledgeable, and conscientious. They should also probably live near you. Speak with our Charlottesville wills attorney to review possible names.
If you have minor children, someone will need to take care of them when you die. If you are married, your spouse might. But he or she could die along with you in a car crash or other accident. Many clients use a will to name guardians for their children. Choosing the right guardian is difficult and requires thorough planning.
Common Errors when Drafting Your Own Will
People who create wills without an attorneys’ help make some common mistakes, including:
- Forgetting assets
- Creating tax problems for heirs
- Failing to follow necessary formalities
- Disqualifying heirs from government benefits
- Misunderstanding how wills interact with non-probate assets
These and other mistakes create headaches for your loved ones at a difficult time. In extreme situations, a judge could invalidate a defective will, or time-consuming litigation could swallow up the bulk of the estate in legal fees.
Speak with a Charlottesville Will Attorney
The lawyers at MichieHamlett are qualified to create a comprehensive estate plan for you, including a will. Contact us today to learn more.