By Belinda Pianezza
No one wants to think about dying. We all spend time making plans and looking forward to the future. Just like everything else in life, there is an ending. Planning for that ending may not be enjoyable, but it is something that will make the lives of our loved ones much easier.
If you have never made a will, it is time. If you do not make a will, your estate will be divided according to government formulas. That means that you will have no say in who receives what. The other issue is the cost of the funeral. Will your loved ones be able to cover the high cost of your funeral and burial? Are they receiving enough of your estate to cover any costs?
If you have a will currently, make sure it is up-to- date. It is too easy to create a will and then shelve it. Family dynamics change and there may be new members of the family that were not present when you wrote your first will. There may also be different regulations that have come into play and they may change how your will is handled. It is important to go over your will from time to time to make sure it is accurate.
If you have never written a will, now is the time. The cost of creating a will varies. If you and your spouse are making wills, it could cost a few hundred dollars. It may seem like an expense you don’t need, but it is your responsibility to ensure your estate is handled properly. While making a will, talk to your lawyer about creating a Power of Attorney document as well. This is often overlooked and can create an issue for family members if you are not able to make decisions or if you have passed. Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the right to act and make decisions on your behalf.
The will process may seem daunting and you may decide that a do-it- yourself will kit is the way to go. It may save you money initially, but in the long run, it can actually cost you more because it may not cover all the bases. Some kits do not meet all of the legal guidelines for wills. It is better to consult a lawyer for any advice and help in creating a will.
There are a few things to remember when making your last will and testament. In order for it to be legal you must sign it. Two witnesses who will not benefit under the terms of the will must also sign it. There are many rules and tax regulations that can come into play after your death. A lawyer can help you minimize any tax costs and that will mean your loved ones will receive more of your estate.