Creating a legally valid will is one of the most important steps you can take to plan for your future and protect your loved ones. While many people put off this critical task, having an up-to-date will ensures your final wishes are honored and prevents unnecessary complications when you pass away.
Working with an experienced Kernersville estate planning attorney to draft your will provides significant advantages over creating one on your own. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should have a lawyer create your will in North Carolina.
1. Save Time, Money, and Stress for Your Loved Ones
Without a will, your estate must go through probate, the court-supervised process of distributing assets after death. Probate can be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful for your family. In order to prevent probate and reduce administrative burdens for family members, an attorney may help you set up your will.
Streamlining the legal and financial details allows your family to focus on healing and honoring your memory during this difficult time.
2. A Will Allows You to Distribute Your Assets as You Wish
A will specifies the way in which your property and assets are to be distributed after your death. This includes bank accounts, investments, real estate, vehicles, jewelry, heirlooms, and any other items you own. Without clear legal instructions in a will, your estate will be divided according to North Carolina’s default rules on intestacy. This standardized distribution may not align with your wishes.
Creating a custom will with an attorney lets you decide exactly who inherits which assets, how much they inherit, and when they receive their inheritance. You can make specific bequests to individuals and charities. With proper planning, you can ensure the people and causes most important to you are provided for.
3. You Can Appoint an Executor You Trust
A key decision when creating your will is selecting the executor, the person who will oversee carrying out your wishes after you pass away. This involves tasks like locating your will, gathering assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing property to beneficiaries.
If you don’t have a will, the court appoints an administrator who doesn’t know or can’t trust to handle your estate. Having an estate planning lawyer draft your will allows you to nominate a reliable executor you choose, like a spouse, adult child, or close friend.
4. You Can Minimize Estate Taxes
If your estate exceeds the federal estate tax exemption ($12.06 million in 2022), your heirs could face significant estate taxes after you pass away. An attorney can help you minimize taxes through strategies like creating a trust, making charitable donations, and gifting assets.
Careful estate planning could potentially save your beneficiaries hundreds of thousands in taxes, allowing them to inherit more of your legacy.
5. It Allows You to Settle Your Affairs on Your Terms
Making a legally valid will with an attorney allows you to settle important affairs exactly as you wish. Beyond distributing your assets, your will can include preferences like your desired funeral arrangements, organ donation wishes, and instructions for the care of pets or property.
Documenting these details ahead of time spares your loved ones the burden of making difficult decisions during an already painful time.
6. As circumstances change, you can modify your will.
Life brings many shifts like marriages, divorces, new children, deaths, relocations, and changes in financial status. What worked for your will in the past may not suit your current situation. Working with a will lawyer makes it easy to modify your will as often as needed to reflect new circumstances.
Periodically reviewing your will ensures it remains relevant and aligns with your wishes as life evolves.
7. It Prevents Confusion and Disputes Among Family
Without clear legal documentation, distributing your estate can breed confusion, delays, hard feelings, and painful disputes between heirs. Family dynamics are complex, and perceptions of “fairness” vary.
A properly drafted will eliminates guesswork by clearly documenting your intentions for dividing your assets. This minimizes the potential for conflict and protects your loved ones during an already difficult time.
8. You Receive Personalized Legal Advice
Online templates and do-it-yourself will kits cannot match the value of personalized advice from an experienced estate planning attorney. Laws differ by state, and your situation involves unique factors. An attorney will ensure your will complies with North Carolina laws and accounts for your specific needs.
Receiving individualized legal counsel provides peace of mind your will withstands legal scrutiny and reduces challenges down the road.
9. A Will Lets You Name a Guardian for Minor Children
If you have minor children, one of the most important reasons to make a will is to designate a guardian to care for them if you die prematurely. The guardian will take over parental responsibilities like where the children live, their education, medical care, and finances.
Without instructions in a will, the probate court will decide who raises your kids. Working with an attorney ensures you appoint a guardian you know will love your children and raise them according to your values.
10. It Prevents Procrastination
Let’s face it – making a will involves coming to terms with your own mortality, so it’s common to delay the process. However, putting it off leaves your estate vulnerable if tragedy strikes. Having an attorney guide you through the process makes it less intimidating while providing urgency to complete.
Attorneys have systems to ensure your will gets made without delays. Once finished, you gain peace of mind knowing your affairs are in order.
Protect Your Family By Working With Apple Payne Law
Crafting a customized will with an experienced estate planning attorney is the best way to document your wishes, prevent disputes, minimize taxes, and protect your loved ones. The team at Apple Payne Law has extensive experience creating comprehensive estate plans for North Carolina residents.
Don’t wait – contact their team today to schedule a consultation and get started on your legal documents. Taking this important step now will provide you and your family lasting peace of mind.