Wills Attorney in Sunset Hills, Missouri
Estate planning is the process of designating who will receive your assets and handle your responsibilities in the anticipation of incapacitation or death. Through an estate plan, you can ensure your assets are given to the people you care about the most. Since you will provide clear end-of-life directives, it can reduce family strife. A proper estate plan is important for you and your family. Unfortunately, many people in the United States fail to establish an estate plan, even those who would benefit significantly from it.
There are many legal strategies involved in estate planning. One of the most important parts of a comprehensive estate plan is the last will and testament. A credible Sunset Hills estate planning attorney can help you understand the benefits of having a will before you die.
At Doyel Law Firm, we provide legal services to clients of all ages with the creation of a good estate plan. We will ensure that your estate plan meets the most current practices and standards of the law. We are here to help you address end-of-life issues and protect your legacy in the most effective way possible.
Give our SUnset Hills wills attorney a call now to learn more about how we can help.
What is a Will?
A will, or last will and testament, is a legal document that states your wishes on how you want to manage your affairs after death. This estate planning document covers the distribution of assets and property, guardianship of minor children, and funeral arrangements. A knowledgeable wills attorney in Sunset Hills can help you understand what a will can and can’t do.
The author of a will is called the testator. Individuals who will receive your assets under the terms of your will are called beneficiaries. You, as the testator, should clearly state your plans on how and what to distribute to your chosen beneficiaries and heirs.
When creating a will, you’ll assign an executor who will be in charge of distributing your assets and managing your estate affairs when you die. Their responsibility will be to submit your will to probate court for authentication and then to carry out your wishes. After your death, your executor will pay any debts and distribute your assets according to the terms of your will.
Why Do I Need a Will?
Writing a will is important, not just for wealthy people, but for everyone. Your will is the key to ensuring that all your estate affairs will be handled and carried out according to your wishes. A reliable Sunset Hills wills lawyer can help you determine the importance of preparing a will ahead of time.
Distribution of Estate
A will makes it easier for your beneficiaries to divide up your estate and fulfill your final wishes upon your death. If you have complicated family dynamics, having a will helps minimize any family fights about the distribution of your valued assets and estate administration. When you die without a will, your family will have to guess what your final wishes were. Your will serves as a guide to determine the “who, what, and when” of your estate. If you die without a will, your intended desires will not be known and followed.
Guardianship of Minor Children
When writing a will, you can designate a person who will act as the guardian for your minor children when you and your spouse pass away. The guardian will have to carry out parental responsibilities regarding the minor children’s care, support, special needs, and education. This will ensure that your children are cared for in a way that you approve. Without a will that names a guardian, the family court will name who should raise your children. The court usually gives custody to the individual who will best protect your children’s interests.
Avoid Probate Process
All estates, with or without a will, must go through probate litigation. Your assets are required to go through your state’s probate court before they can be distributed to your intended beneficiaries. In most states, probate litigation can be a lengthy, drawn-out process that involves expensive costs. However, having a will speeds up the probate process.
If you have been named as executor in the will of a loved one, or if you have been appointed administrator in an intestate estate, our skilled Sunset Hills wills attorneys can help you complete the requirements set forth by the probate court. This will ensure that all the final taxes and debts of the decedent will be settled. Furthermore, all the assets will be distributed according to the terms of the will or the laws of intestacy.
Minimize Estate Taxes
When you die, your assets could be subject to estate taxes and inheritance taxes. The amount may vary depending on the state where you lived and how much they were worth. In this case, having a will can help you minimize your estate taxes, depending on how you structure your will. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.
What Happens If You Die Without a Will?
When a person dies without a will, it is said that they have died intestate. In this case, you will no longer have control over the most important decisions after you die. You won’t be able to decide who will inherit your assets, manage your estate, and care for your minor children. A seasoned wills attorney in Sunset Hills MO can help you understand the disadvantages of not having a will.
If you die without a will, the probate court will manage your estate affairs according to the intestacy laws of the state. In most cases, the order of succession usually prioritizes your surviving spouse, followed by your children, parents, siblings, and extended family members. The laws of intestacy vary depending on whether you were single or married, or had children.
Dying intestate may also have estate tax consequences. Estate taxes can affect the assets you plan to give your loved ones when you pass away. If you do not plan, your loved ones may end up only getting a small portion of what you intended them to receive because of estate taxes. Therefore, it is important to have a properly prepared will to reduce estate tax liability.
Speak to our Experienced Sunset Hills Wills Attorney Now!
A will is an important and powerful estate planning document that all adults should have. Having a well-prepared will ahead of time can give you and your family peace of mind. This will make settling your affairs much easier after you’re gone and reduce the amount of time and money required to manage your estate.
No matter how young or old you are, it is never too early or too late to discuss security for your loved ones. Since creating a will can be stressful and complicated, it may be wise to seek formal legal advice from our competent Sunset Hills wills lawyers at Doyel Law Firm. Our estate planning law firm provides legal services and representation for estate planning concerns including wills, trusts, asset protection, and estate administration. We are ready to help you draft a will that will meet your estate planning needs. We will help you take control over protecting your assets and securing your legacy.
Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.