One of the most important steps you can take to protect your legacy and your family is to create a will. Unfortunately, in Christian County, most people do not have a basic will. When asked the reasons why they have not executed a will, the excuses and explanations are varied:
- I do not have enough assets to need a will
- My family knows what I want to happen after I die
- Attorneys are expensive, and I can make a will myself
- I have been meaning make a will, but I just keep putting it off
If this sounds like you, don't worry. Chances are if you are reading this page, you are at least considering creating a will and an estate plan. The good news is there is still time to write a will that will serve you and family by making your wishes clear at the time of your passing.
Here are some reasons why speaking with an experienced Hopkinsville will lawyer to create a last will and testament is so important.
Direct Where Your Assets Go with a Will
Contrary to some beliefs, simply telling your family where you want certain assets to go at your death does not mean those directions will be followed. It's quite the opposite really. Without a will, you have zero say over where your belongings go at your death. That distribution is up to the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The state decides where your assets go. Not you. And not your family. It does not make a difference if you have a dollar to your name or one million. If you care where your assets go at your death and how they are distributed, take some time to speak with a Hopkinsville will lawyer to create an estate plan.
If you have a will, you can direct where you want your assets to go. If you wanted to give the house to your son, you can say so in your will. If its important for your daughter to inherit your jewelry or a certain bank account, just give those assets to her in your will. With a will, you can even add controls and protections through a testamentary trust. This type of trust is created in your will. It appoints a trustee to control a certain asset for the benefit of someone else. You can create limits and rules on how the assets are used in a testamentary trust.
Appoint an Executor of the Will
If you do not have a will, someone must petition the probate court to be appointed the administrator of your estate. The person applying to be appointed as administrator may not be someone you want to handle your affairs. For example, let's say you have a child who has a problem handling money. That child is probably not the best choice to manage your estate. However, without naming an executor in your will, you lose all control. Additionally, if there are two persons that compete to be your administrator, there is potential for substantial conflict. Bottom line: Name an executor you trust, someone that will be responsible and will follow what your will says.
Name Someone in Your Will to Care for Your Minor Children
If you have children that are under eighteen (18) years old a will is especially important to have. What happens if you and your spouse pass away? Who do you want to take care of your kids? With a will, you can request certain persons be appointed the guardian of your children. Without a will, there could be a fight between grandparents, in-laws, or siblings over who will be responsible for raising your children. Your recommendation to the court as to who should be appointed as guardian is critical to ensure that your kids will be with the proper individuals. Note, however, that just because you recommend someone in your will does not mean that the court will follow that recommendation. If you named crazy Uncle Bill who has a problem with alcohol, the Hopkinsville court is not likely to follow those wishes.
Having a Will Allows You to Disinherit Certain Persons
Are you concerned about a family member inheriting from you? If you wish that person not to inherit any portion of your estate its important to have a will. A will gives you the ability to exclude certain people from taking from you at your death. However, without a will you have no control. For instance, let's assume you have an estranged child or grandchild that you have not seen in many years. You do not want them to inherit from you. A Hopkinsville will lawyer can make sure that this child or grandchild does not inherit by putting a clause in the will.
Remember: We Do Not Live Forever
Death is a part of life. We have little control over when we will find death, but each of us have our own time. Knowing that, take some time after you read this and make a list of what you want to happen to your estate after you are gone:
- Who do you want to be in charge of your estate?
- Where do you want your assets to go?
- What happens if a beneficiary dies before you? What happens to those assets?
- Who do you want to care for any minor children?
- Are you disinheriting anyone?
Once you have thought about these questions, sit down with a Hopkinsville will lawyer. Let that attorney guide you through the process of forming your estate plan. Undoubtedly, there may be many questions and contingencies that you have not considered. Moreover, an experienced Hopkinsville will lawyer understands certain tax consequences that may effect your Federal estate tax or Kentucky inheritance Tax.
Contact an Experienced Hopkinsville Will Lawyer
If you are considering making a last will and testament, give Hopkinsville us a call today. We know what it takes to put together a comprehensive legal will that will protect your legacy and your family. Remember a will is the foundation to your estate plan. Put aside the excuses of not having a will and plan for your future. Give us a call today.