Everyone knows the only truly certain aspect of life is uncertainty. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any control. Whether you’re in your early twenties or you’re getting closer to retirement age, it’s never too early – or too late – to start considering what will happen to your belongings and estate when you’re gone.
Even if you think you don’t have that much to take care of, a last will and testament helps bring clarity and ease during a difficult time for your loved ones. Even minor things, such as who will take care of your pets when you’re gone, are far more stressful decisions if you don’t put it in writing.
While many people recently have started creating their own wills with online services or even by simply trying to type it out themselves, there are a lot of ways hiring a lawyer to prepare your will can make the process more secure and easier for you and your family.
Peace of Mind
The main reason that most people should consider talking with a lawyer to create their last will and testament is that this is an extremely important step to take and even a small mistake can create massive headaches for your loved ones.
A lawyer will make sure that the right language and pieces are in place to accomplish exactly what you want for your belongings and assets. Even if you create your own last will and testament, it’s a good idea to meet with a legal advisor once it’s finished just to make sure all the details are properly discussed and in order.
Appoint a Guardian
If you’re a parent, nothing is more important in creating a last will and testament than what will happen to your children once you’re gone, especially if the unthinkable happens while they are still young.
In these events, a last will and testament can be a life saver, as you can name individuals to serve as your children’s legal guardians – which we’ve also written about before – in the documents. This saves your loved ones from enormous legal headaches, as becoming a guardian without the recommendation of the parents can be difficult and take a lot of time and finances that otherwise could be avoided.
Another great reason to talk about your last will and testament with your lawyer is that most people miss a lot of key pieces as they try to consider the various elements that go into the end of a life. After all, even if you consider yourself a minimalist, you probably have a lot of stuff.
From your clothes and shoes to heirlooms that have been in the family for decades, a lawyer will help you directly clarify who gets what after you're gone. This is especially important in a large family, so that there are no squabbles over ownership of valuables, which only adds stress and frustration to a time of grieving.
Allocate Funds for Final Expenses
Most people already know this but it isn’t something people talk about a lot: funerals are expensive. Caskets alone can cost thousands, and then there’s the ceremony, the burial plot, and tons of other minor and major financial discussions that your loved ones will have to have, all while grieving your loss.
Talking with a lawyer and working together can alleviate almost all of this stress, as you can set aside funds specifically to be used for your funeral and burial services, as well as indicating how you’d like to be laid to rest. Even if you don’t have a lot of extra finances, or you’d rather your family not spend as much money, you can also set boundaries about it and your lawyer can help.
Take Care of Your Business
This doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you are the owner of any type of business, non-profit, or charity organization, not working with a lawyer to correctly specify how that business is treated once you’re gone is a huge mistake.
Up to 70 percent of family-owned businesses do not last past the first generation, and this is often because of a lack of estate planning. Your lawyer will help you decide and specify which heirs and/or co-owners you’d like to receive your ownership once you’re gone.
Make Things Easier
Above all, the biggest reason to create a last will and testament by working with a lawyer is that, when it comes down to it, the days after your death are going to be difficult ones for your friends, family, and loved ones. Families are typically tasked with taking care of your estate as well as the funeral and services associated with it, all while they manage their obvious emotions and grief over your passing.
Working alongside your lawyer makes everything easier for the whole family. They won’t have to spend hours trying to figure out who gets what; they won’t have to sit down and figure out how they can pay for your funeral services. In a way, creating a last will and testament with your lawyer is an act of kindness, knowing how hard any death in the family is.
While it may seem morbid or just plain scary to talk about, your passing is inevitable, but you do have a choice as to what happens after. To discuss a will and testament with a lawyer, contact us today, or download our free guide to learn more.