People don't like to think about their own demise, naturally enough, and as a result many people put off thinking about a will. Some people think that a will is only necessary if you have an estate of a certain amount, and so avoid the subject. But death comes to us all, and even if your estate is modest, upon your death, you still need to leave behind instructions concerning how you would like you assets distributed, as well as other instructions or statements.
The good news is, if your estate is too small to be subject to estate taxes, you may not need to hire a lawyer and spend a lot of money to protect your wishes. A simple will can often be created with the help of a qualified attorney - and if you don't have anything else in place, a simple will is something you should consider doing sooner rather than later.
The Simple Will
A simple will can accomplish many basic but necessary aspects of your estate:
• Designating a legal guardian for your children if they are not yet adults, including naming the same person or a separate person as the executor of the estate in charge of finances
• Clarifying how assets are to be distributed upon changes in circumstances, such as new children or if beneficiaries pre-decease you
• Detail what happens to specific assets, or conditions attached to disbursements
A simple will still has to go through a probate court; but if you die without any will at all, many decisions about your assets will be taken out of your hands and handled by the government, with no guarantees that you will agree with the decisions it makes. Furthermore, without a will, the State directs how your estate is distributed, often to persons you may not consider as beneficiaries. If you think your estate is too complex for a simple will, it's a good idea to hire someone to help you create something more complex.
The Living Will
A related document is the Living Will. A Living Will contains instructions to be followed if you are ever in a state where you are not deceased but cannot direct the events of your estate - a vegetative state, coma, or other debilitating condition. Living Wills can contain instructions for your financial assets as well as declarations about who can make medical decisions on your behalf, and whether extreme measures should be taken to revive you in the case of death.
Based in Ocala, Florida, Mark Fox can provide you with legal assistance in creating all kinds of wills and other forms of estate planning. As the founder and principal attorney at Mark W. Fox, P.A., Mr. Fox can help you in areas as diverse as personal injury, labor and employment law, family law and business law. Please call 352.390.8889 or go to http://www.mfoxlawgroup.com for more information.