People avoid having a will prepared for many reasons. Perhaps the most common reason people put off having a will prepared is simply because they don’t think they need it. People who avoid making a will for this reason probably believe they don’t have all that many assets, so the state of Virginia can reasonably be expected to divvy up those assets as they see fit. Other reasons people tend to put off having a will prepared is because they think it is complicated or too expensive or they don’t want to face their own mortality.
Once you have made the decision to do some necessary estate planning, you may be a little lost as you try to determine which documents you need, as well as the differences between them. If you are including a trust…
Having an estate plan is extremely important, yet the majority of American adults don’t even have a simple will. Some 39 percent of adult men feel like having an estate plan is simply not necessary, while 26 percent of women believe it is too costly. Those who consider themselves Republicans are more likely to have an estate plan (46 percent of all registered Republicans do have some type of estate plan), while only 37 percent of Democrats have an estate plan. Almost a full third of Americans would rather give up sex for a month, do their taxes or get a root canal than to engage in estate planning. Aside from feeling an estate plan is either not necessary or too expensive, other common reasons given for not having an estate plan include:
Most adults are at least somewhat aware they should have, at a minimum, a basic will. Yet 51 percent of those between ages 55-64 don’t have a will and 62 percent of those between the ages of 45-54 don’t have a will. When you die without a will, the state gets to decide who will inherit your assets.
Generally speaking, if you have a spouse and/or children, then that’s where your assets will go. If you have minor children and die without a will, the state will choose their guardians. If you are not married and have no children, then the state will determine which relatives will inherit your assets.
If you don’t want to leave the determination of who will receive your assets to the state, then it is probably time to draft a will. Many people are inhibited by the various types of wills available. When they can’t decide which type is right for them, they simply end up doing nothing at all. An experienced estate-planning attorney can help you decide which type of will is best for your individual circumstances, particularly because not all types of wills are legal in all states. Below you will find a description of each type of will.
You may have heard others talking about an Advance Medical Directive documents and wondered whether they are something you could benefit from. An Advance Medical Directive is a legal document which allows you to choose a person you trust to make decisions regarding your healthcare should you become incapacitated. The individual you name as your representative in your Advance Medical Directive should be someone you know would make the same decisions you would make, if you were able. The types of decisions an Advance Medical Directive can cover include:
While most of us are aware of the need to do at least a minimal amount of estate planning, few of us actually take the necessary steps to do so. According to Rocket Lawyers, more than 65 percent of Americans don’t even have a simple will—a number which is actually up from 2011. Even more women between the ages of 45-54 (67 percent) don’t have a simple will, let alone other estate planning documents. Perhaps even more shocking is that a full third of Americans say they would rather get a root canal, or do their taxes, than to create or update their will.
What is a Living Will?
A living will is a document which will provide specific medical instructions should you become incapacitated. Living wills include a healthcare power of attorney which allows you to appoint a healthcare agent who will make any decisions related to your health care should you be unable to make those decisions on your own. You can choose which life-sustaining treatments you might want should you be in a coma or have a terminal illness in your living will.
Even if you are a firm believer in do-it-yourself projects, you probably realize your limitations on some things, and hire a professional to do the job. While doing some things on your own can certainly save you money, when there is a chance that a mistake on the project could result in significant cost, it is usually better to allow a person who is trained, skilled and experienced to do the job.
Writing a will is one of the things that is almost always better left to a trained legal professional. You can, of course, find all sorts of DIY wills on the Internet, but guess what? You can also find out how to remove your own appendix on the Internet, yet the vast majority of people know better than to attempt that. There are any number of mistakes—some of them quite serious—which can be made on a DIY will.
Unfortunately, mistakes regarding estate planning abound, and these mistakes can cause serious issues after a person’s death. Your estate plan should be very specific to your particular situation, and should be motivated by considerations for your loved ones as well as sound legal analysis. Take a look at the following estate planning mistakes, and ensure your estate plan is free of those mistakes. Chances are, there is at least one that you may have been guilty of..