Estate Planning and Wills Attorneys and Lawyers in St. Louis, Missouri
Writing a will is one of the most important steps you can take to safeguard your legacy and ensure that your loved ones are protected when you pass away. The kind of will you’ll write will depend largely on your financial circumstances and your wishes. Many people choose to hire an attorney to help them write their will to help their loved ones avoid problems later. The Behrens Law Firm, LLC offers a range of sophisticated strategies to help families navigate complex tax, probate, and trust laws. Whether you need a simple will, a living will, or require a trust or other estate planning tools, our firm can help you comprehensively plan for the future.
7 Steps for Writing Your Will
Individuals may put off writing their will because they don’t want to have to think about death. However, if you do not have a will in place, you put your assets, your wishes, and your family at risk, Emergencies do arise. Just as you take out insurance to protect you in the event of a car accident or health issue, individuals you need to write a will to protect your assets and family. Here are 7 steps to consider when writing your will:
- Specify beneficiaries. If you do not name inheritors, your assets and property may be subject to intestate laws. This means that the state will decide who gets what. Most states give assets to a spouse first, then children, then siblings. However, if you want control over who gets what, it is important to specify your beneficiaries and decide how to split your assets and property.
- Choose an executor. An executor will ensure that the wishes of your will are followed. Some individuals select a spouse or a child, but if there is family conflict, you may want to consider selecting a neutral party, or an estate planning lawyer to serve as your executor.
- Be specific. The more specific your will, the easier it will be for the executor to follow through on your wishes. Anything of value should be considered and noted in your will. Objects of sentimental value should always be taken into account. If you plan to exclude a family member from your will, it is important to be specific about this. Your will can always be contested, especially if your wishes go against intestate laws.
- If you have young children, specify a guardian.
A will is the only way that you can specify the guardian of your children, should both parents die. You must always first speak to the person you want to if a designated person does not accept the guardianship, the state may appoint a guardian. If you have concerns about how your children will be cared for, you owe it to them to talk to an estate planning attorney who can help you help you understand the your options and estate planning laws.
- Make sure you have witnesses sign the will. It is not enough just to write a will and put it in a drawer. The will should be signed by uninterested parties and their signatures notarized. Further, your estate planning lawyer and the notary as well as the witnesses can testify to your wishes, should the will be contested
- Let family know where you’ll keep your will. Ideally, you’ll want to keep multiple copies of your will. Store the original in a safe deposit box and give copies of the will to trusted family members or to your estate planning lawyer.
- Consider hiring an attorney to help you write your will. If you make a mistake on your will, your family could face a long and expensive probate process, and your wishes ignored. Without proper estate planning, your family could pay unnecessary taxes, probate fees and costs. For some families, these burdens can be immense. An estate planning attorney can explain the law and help.
The Behrens Law Firm, LLC assists clients who have a range of needs when it comes to writing a will. Whether you need a simple document, or whether you need more complex estate planning tools to protect your assets and your legacy, we can help. Writing a will can be challenging. We will be there with you every step of the way.
Do I Need a Living Will?
You may wonder whether you need a living will, sometimes referred to as “advanced medical directives.” Everyone needs one, and most hospitals require them before any significant procedure. A living will can let your loved ones know your wishes regarding end of life medical decisions and care. For instance, if you don’t want doctors to take heroic actions or use machines to keep you on life support, a living will can tell your family this, and help your family answer the tough medical questions that they may have to answer on your behalf. You help your family when you do your own end of life planning and leave a living will.
For individuals facing chronic or serious illness, another option that some families must consider is setting up a guardianship or conservatorship. Designating a guardian or setting up a conservatorship can allow a family member to make decisions regarding your finances and assets should you become incapacitated or ill and unable to make decisions. Business owners and individuals who wish to protect their assets may decide to use this important estate planning tool. It is wise to seek the advice of a will or estate planning lawyer if learn how to handle your affairs and whether you need a guardianship or conservatorship. While the law offers provisions for individuals to take over another person’s assets and property, the standards and attendant costs that the court sets for these cases are high. Contact the Behrens Law Firm, LLC today to learn more about what steps you need to take to protect your assets and your family.
We Can Help You With Your Will in St. Louis, Missouri
A will can protect you legacy, your children, your family, and your future. Proper estate planning offers important peace of mind for everyone involved. The Behrens Law Firm, LLC works personally and closely with a diverse range of client situations. We can help you understand the estate planning tools available and their benefits. Contact us today to begin planning now.