Estate Planning Tips
Estate planning can feel completely overwhelming. Not only does it require us to lightly ponder our own demise, it is hard to even know where to start or what “estate planning” even means. Additionally, it is far from intuitive. While some may assume that they merely have to write out a will, that is not the case. In reality, there are a number of legal requirements that a will must meet in order to be considered valid. If the will does not meet these requirements, even if it otherwise clearly expresses the intentions of the testator, it will not be honored by the court and the judge will instead apply the intestate succession statutes. Below we’ve provided some tips that can help ensure you have a valid will and a comprehensive estate plan.
- Don’t DIY Your Will. If there is one place where you don’t want to cut corners, it’s with your legacy. A simple mistake or failure to comply with necessary requirements can mean that all of your last wishes will be found invalid. The worst part is that you’ll never know. Working with an experienced attorney gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your will is legally in compliance and will be found valid and enforceable by the probate court. It also means that you can be sure you developed the best possible estate plan for you and your loved ones given your goals and assets.
- Make sure your will can be found. It would be a shame to go through all the work of creating a will, only for no one to be able to find it or a signed copy of it. If no one is able to locate your will after your death, the probate court will distribute your estate in accordance with the state’s intestate succession statutes. It’s a good idea to put your will somewhere safe, but where people will think to look, such as a safe or with all of your other important papers. You can also leave your will with a trusted friend or the person you name in your will to be your Personal Representative. Note that a copy of your will is admissible in the probate court in Massachusetts, so if your family cannot locate your original Last Will and Testament, the drafting attorney will likely have a copy and can offer that copy for probate. While copies of properly executed will are admissible, it is best to organize these documents and let someone know where you have safely stored them. .
- Avoid probate. A will is an important part of an estate plan, however, it’s important to remember that even valid wills have to go through probate. This can be a time consuming and expensive process which can deplete the assets in your estate. For this reason, it is a good idea to minimize the amount of assets that have to go through probate court. You can do this by creating trusts and taking advantage of other estate planning mechanisms, such as adding your spouse or loved one as a co-owner with survivorship rights on certain critical assets, such as your home or bank account.
Contact Fisher Law in Norwood, MA Today
If you are ready to make sure that you have a comprehensive estate plan in place, contact the Norwood estate planning lawyers at Fisher Law today to schedule a personalized consultation.