A will is the most basic estate planning document. In it, you outline who should inherit your property, direct how to pay debts and taxes, and name a guardian for your minor children in case one is ever needed. So how is it that this important document is like the insanely popular body-slimming undergarment?
1. By the time you’re middle-aged (and really even before then!), you ought to have one.
You’ve probably got one of those "need to do eventually" lists floating around somewhere. Organize the garage. Return library books. Replace a light bulb. If you’ve celebrated your 29th birthday a few times, chances are that drafting a will is on that list but may not have become a top priority of yours just yet. The reality is, though, unexpected events can and do suddenly happen. While it may be difficult to contemplate mortality, many people find that great peace of mind results from planning for the future.
But, what happens if you never get it crossed off your list? If you die without a will, you have no say over who will get your assets or who will be appointed as the guardian of your minor children. Instead, the state decides who gets what. Assets will be divided among your closest relatives under the direction of “intestate succession” laws. This predefined formula and might not be what you want or expect. Additionally, it will be up to the court to select a guardian.
2. It makes things smoother!
Shape-wear is notoriously uncomfortable, but people still endure the gut-squeezing agony because the right pair smooths out tummies, thighs and derrieres. In the same way, a well-drafted will goes a long way to smooth the probate process. It eases the transition for your loved ones and prevents unnecessary financial and legal grief being added to the emotional grief they may already be facing upon your death.
3. One-size doesn’t fit all.
Just like those high-waisted, knee-grazing undies, one-size doesn’t fit all. (Just ask all those people who survived near-death experiences after ignoring the Spanx size-guide!) Your will doesn’t have to be complicated, but there are many important factors to consider. You'll want to make careful and deliberate decisions with respect to your assets, businesses and, most importantly, your children. Every estate is different and that’s why its important to make sure your will adequately provides for your family and protects your assets.
4. You periodically need to get a new one.
Over time, you need to check your Spanx’s elasticity and determine if its still helping you achieve the look you want. Trust us on this one! Along the same lines, you should occasionally review your will to ensure your plans are still reflective of your goals. We recommend reviewing your will every three to five years. You should review your will more often if there is a change in the law, your finances or personal circumstances.
And there’s one more way a will is like a pair of Spanx… it might seem like an unnecessary luxury. It’s not, and we can help…with the will that is! Our firm completes most estate planning work on a fixed-fee basis. After our free initial review where we get to know you and your unique situation, we provide you with a flat price for implementing your recommended solution. That means we will do the work and make sure you understand your plan for a set price, regardless of the amount of time we spend. We get to know you, so the plan we create meets your personal needs.