Common Issues With Wills

Posted in Wills & Estates. Friday, Jun 24th, 2016

People don’t like thinking about needing a will, trust, or other estate planning mechanisms, but they are a very necessary part of life.  Having your will in order is an enormous gift to your family in their time of grief, and also assures that your wishes will be carried out correctly.

Probate law is a complex area of practice, and while the temptation exists to save money by using a “do it yourself” kit from the internet or your local bookstore, saving a little bit of money at the expense of potentially seriously complicating the probate of your estate and putting your survivors into a needlessly stressful position is a false economy.  Whether you have a simple estate or a complex one involving multiple children or a second marriage, it is in your best interests to retain an attorney to assist you in drafting your final wishes.

Common Problems

By being attentive, thorough, and using the assistance of an attorney a person drafting their will or other estate planning mechanism can avoid a wide variety of errors that can complicate the probate process, many of which you may not think of on your own.  In fact, many, if not most, of the problems people commonly encounter are caused by not being thorough enough in the process.

Issues To Consider Before Drafting A Will

Generally, problems that arise that could have been dealt with prior to beginning the process of drafting a will typically involve record keeping, or the selection of an appropriate person to manage the tasks which are necessary after a person passes.  When a person is drafting a will it is important that they spend the necessary amount of time to catalog their assets.  If you don’t list everything that will need to be accounted for after your passing, including insurance policies and death benefits, it is very likely that something may be missed in the probate process, and even potentially end up with the unclaimed and lost property department of the State.  While there is a good chance it will eventually end up with your beneficiaries, this will needlessly complicate and extend the process.  It is important to note that when drafting a will with the assistance of an attorney your information will be strictly confidential, even from the courts, due to a provision in the law called the workproduct exemption.

It is also a good practice to set aside liquid capital in order to pay taxes on your estate and any outstanding bills you may leave behind, such as funeral expenses, lawyer’s fees if they become necessary, and your day to day expenses.  Any funds that are left over will be rolled into the estate, and it is important to make provisions for their division as well.

Finally, a person drafting a will should select an executor of their estate, and guardians for any minor children, incompetent dependents, and also caretakers for any pets the person may have.  This person or persons should be someone that you trust who will likely outlive you, and whom you have spoken to and who has agreed to accept the tasks ahead of time.

Issues That Arise After A Will Has Been Written

By retaining an attorney issues with the actual drafting of a will are eliminated, but there are still a few pertinent considerations to keep in mind after your will has been completed.  First and foremost, you must make sure that your will can be located when it is needed.  Your attorney will be able to explain various options for this, but often leaving it with a disinterested third party is a good decision.  Additionally, people often forget to update their will when their personal situation changes.  Long distance moves, new children, changes of marital situations or financial situations, and name changes can all affect the probate process and should be reflected in your will.

The Law Office of Mike Gertner: Columbus Probate Attorneys

While probate issues comprise a subject that many people choose not to think about it is an important one.  Contact the Law Office of Mike Gertner today to discuss your needs with a representative and learn how we make it as efficient a process as possible.