ANNAPOLIS INJURY ATTORNEY: Why a Simple Will is Simply Essential!Written by steve
If you die intestate–meaning without a proper will or living trust–your assets will be distributed according to the law in the state where you live. A Harris Interactive survey of the general population, done for Lawyers.com, found 58% of all adults lack this basic document. (Forbes.com, 2009)
As pointed out in Forbes.com, some married couples with kids do write “I love you” wills leaving everything to each other, with the idea that the survivor will take care of the kids. But those couples that don’t have as much foresight may be unwittingly misdirecting the future of their families if they live in one of the 34 states that have not adopted this outcome in their laws for persons dying intestate.
So by all means, for sake of those you love, execute a will! Even if you already have one but it’s collected dust, update it. Over the years your family and assets may have grown considerably.
For those with fewer assets than $100,000, a simple will may be in order. But an attorney can best advise how extensive a will, or perhaps whether another estate planning vehicle is best suited for your family.
The following are some of the people and things about which you’ll need to compile the pertinent information and documents when meeting with your attorney:
Basic family information:
• Your current marriage and any prior marriages, pre-nuptial agreements and divorces
• Your children, grandchildren and other close relatives
• Any disability of a family member (requiring special provisions in your will or estate plan)
Existing planning documents:
• Any Will and/or Living Trust
• Any Power of Attorney
• Any Living Will or Advance Healthcare Directive
• Real Property, including liens/mortgages
• Safety deposit boxes
• Life insurance policies
• Equity interests (stock, partnership interest, etc.) in any closely held business
• Person desired to be your Personal Representative (Executor) to handle the affairs of you or your spouse’s estate
• If you or your spouse does not survive the other or if there is a common dis¬aster, you will need a Guardian for your minor child¬ren or your minor grandchildren should inheritances go directly to them (age 18 or younger)
Power of Attorney
• You and your spouse will need a person with a Durable General Power of Attorney so that someone can act for or your spouse as your “attorney-in-fact” to handle your financial and legal affairs if or you or your spouse are unable to do so. This would include any Advance Healthcare Directive so that someone can act for or spouse as your “Healthcare Agent” to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if or your spouse are unable to do so.