Because of how important estate planning is to your family, you should put time and care into getting it right. At the same time, you never know when something can happen, and you don’t want your family to struggle because you never got around to putting your plan in place. Take these steps now to make sure you’re on the right path.
Set a Beneficiary on Your Bank Accounts
Most banks allow you to designate a beneficiary or “payable on death” on the account. If something happens to you, the bank automatically transfers your account to the person you named. This allows them to receive immediate access to funds your family may need for final expenses, important bills, or food while your estate is settled.
This option is also available on many retirement accounts and other investment accounts. Depending on the size of your account and who you intend it to go to, you may also wish to designate a beneficiary on these accounts, or you may choose to handle these accounts in your will.
Write a Rough Draft Will
Wills are important legal documents, and mistakes in a will could lead to your family having to spend months in probate court only for a judge to end up not honoring your wishes. At the same time, you can have a will without going through all of the legal formalities. A bad will is better than no will.
When wills are notarized before witnesses and attorneys, it doesn’t transform them from a meaningless document to a legal document. It just makes it easier for your family to prove in court that the will is valid in case someone disputes it. In addition, there are complex laws that can make certain provisions you may want to include in your will invalid. Or, you may have a legally valid wish but not express it in a clear manner. Having an attorney write your will helps to avoid these potential problems and makes sure a judge will read your will as you want it to be read.
On the other hand, it can take some time before you’re able to sit down with a lawyer, and there’s even a chance of you being in a car accident on the way there. To protect yourself in the meantime, write out a will to the best of your ability now, and then bring it to your lawyer to get everything in order.
Do the Same Thing with Your Living Will and Power of Attorney
Living wills and powers of attorney often do have higher legal requirements, since they’re asking doctors, financial institutions, and courts to act on behalf of a living person who isn’t there to speak for themselves. However, a rough draft is still better than nothing. Even if it doesn’t have legal effect, it can avoid arguments between your family members over what they think you would have wanted when they go to court on your behalf.
Schedule a Meeting with Your Lawyer
There’s no question the topics you discuss with an estate planning lawyer are unpleasant to think about. It’s still something you need to get done to secure your family’s future and for your own peace of mind. Schedule a meeting with Atlanta Wills + Trusts Law Group by Refeca Law LLC now, and you’ll be glad you did when you sleep well at night knowing you have a plan in place for your family.
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