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Will Lawyer: 10 Reasons You Probably Need a Will

A will is a legal document drawn up by a will lawyer that gives you control over your assets. Proper estate planning allows you to provide for yourself and your family by creating a valid will, trust, power of attorney, a living will, and more. A will helps to ensure that your heirs know how you want your assets divided.

Without a will, the government gets to decide where your money goes instead of you. Because approximately 70% of Americans die without a will or some form of legal instrument transferring their estate assets, the government probate courts are overwhelmed, make mistakes, and do not individually care about your family.

Further, if you attempt to write your own will it may not be legally binding.  If that happens, your heirs may fight over your assets and enter long, drawn out court battles.

A will lawyer can help you write a will that can ensure that your assets will be distributed the way you desire. Have the keystone of your estate, a valid last will and testament, drawn up by a lawyer.

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Ten Reasons You Probably Need a Will

Reason 1: Children or lack thereof.

A baby changes everything. When you have children, you will want to have a will to determine many factors for their future if something should happen to you. Whether your children are minors or adults, creating a will can simplify matters for your children. Just as you’ve provided for your children in living, plan ahead to care for them after you’re gone.

Do you have minor children?

Without a will, the government decides who will take care of your children. A will lawyer drafts a will that specifically names who you want to look after your children in the event of your death. Your child’s legal guardian can make the decisions that your child is too young to make; however, a will can grant or take away some specific powers of a legal guardian. A will also ensures your children are provided for with your assets, so that your children do not have to rely on charity for survival.

Do you have multiple children?

Explain to your children how you will be dividing your assets after you pass away. In addition to a conversation with your children, you need a will that directs how the assets should be split. Do you have a child that you wish to disinherit? You cannot do so without a will. If you hire a will lawyer to assist you, the will lawyer can create a will that disinherits one child and protects the other children from litigation from the disinherited child.

Do you not have children?

Without a will, your money could end up going to complete strangers. Based on the Pennsylvania laws that control where assets go when someone dies without a will, distant relatives you’ve never met may inherit your money. The government may lay claim to your money. If you would rather direct where your money goes, whether to friends, charities, or whomever you decide, you need to hire a will lawyer to help you with your will.

Are you remarried with adult children?

Do you want your spouse or your children to receive the majority of your estate? Some people choose to leave their house to their spouse, but the rest of their assets to their children. Others decide to leave everything to their spouse. Some spouses are financially secure and do not want a portion of the estate. Without a will, your blended family won’t know how you would like your assets divided.

Do you have a child with special needs?

Protect your child and ensure their care for the rest of their life by having a will created that outlines how your assets will be used. A will lawyer can help you plan out how to maximize your assets to cover your child’s expenses. In a will, you can express how you want your assets used to care for your child.

Reason 2: Unintended beneficiaries.

In recent days, it’s not uncommon for wills to be contested. One of the main reasons behind contested estates is due to the all-time high divorce rate. Children from different relationships, remarriage, old wills naming the former spouse, and all sorts of confusion complicates modern wills. When a person dies, people come out of the woodwork to claim even the smallest bit of the estate.

Reason 3: Assets have become more complicated.

Years ago, estates consisted of only a house. Now, assets include financial instruments, life insurance policies, and more. When preparing a will, all of these assets need to be considered and given a plan.

Reason 4: Leaving money to charities after your death in your name.

A will is the easiest way to ensure that your favorite charity can receive a portion of your assets. A will lawyer can draft a will that explicitly lays out what charity you would like your assets to go to. You can also dictate how you would like the charity to spend your money.

Reason 5: Separated from your spouse, but not divorced.

Without a will, the majority of your estate could go to your former spouse. Although a will cannot stop your former spouse from receiving anything, it can greatly reduce the portion of your estate that they would be able to take. A good lawyer can advise you in how to handle the situation.

Reason 6: A spouse or partner who is not financial savvy.

You can use a will to financially plan for your spouse in the case of your death. Your will can direct that you would like your spouse to hire a financial planner to help manage your money. A will lawyer can help you choose a reputable financial planner.

Reason 7: Pennsylvania’s death taxes.

If your primary residence is Pennsylvania, the answer is most likely yes. Unlike the federal estate tax, no minimum level of assets is required before Pennsylvania inheritance tax becomes payable. A will lawyer can help you figure out how to give the least amount of your money to the state and federal government.

Reason 8: The old will from years ago.

If your will still provides for a legal guardian for your children but your children are now in their twenties, it may be time to update your will. If someone you were going to leave money to has died or you have fallen out of touch, you may want to update your will. Perhaps you would like to name one of your children as executor, or add a charity that you have grown especially fond of over the years. Review your will every few years to check that you are still happy with how your assets are distributed. If you review your will and discover you want to change something, call the will lawyers at Kraemer, Manes & Associates to assist you.

Reason 9: Estate inventory.

A will should account for the following:

1. Names, addresses, and birth dates for you, your spouse, your children, proposed guardians, and executor of your estate.
2. Amounts of all debts, including mortgages, car loans, student loans, business loans, and credit card accounts.
3. Copies of existing wills, trusts, divorce decrees, prenuptial agreements and any other legal documents that might affect a will.
4. Internet passwords and accounts.
5. Items to destroy.
6. A list of assets and debts, including detailed information about the following:

  • Real estate
  • Savings (bank accounts, CDs, money markets)
  • Investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs)
  • Life insurance policies
  • 401(k), IRA, pension/retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies and annuities
  • Ownership interest in a business
  • Cars, boats, planes and other vehicles
  • Jewelry
  • Collectibles
  • Artwork
  • Antiques
  • Furniture
  • Other personal property

Reason 10: End of life arrangements.

Outlining your exact wishes upon your death eases the process for your family and friends. Choose the burial location, the tombstone, and the public announcement. Planning ahead for your own death minimizes the decisions that a grieving family member will have to decide. In every single case, a detailed will alleviates some of the pain of the passing. Don’t let your death be the source of additional difficulty for those you love.

 

At Kraemer, Manes & Associates, our will lawyers guide you through the process of tailoring a will to your life, assets, and desires. Don’t leave your money to just anyone. You make the calls of where your money goes when you create a will that is legally binding.

Chat with a will attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com.

Estate Lawyer

Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC “KM&A” is a law firm serving all of Pennsylvania with our principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Call KM&A in western Pennsylvania at 412-626-5626 or in eastern Pennsylvania at 215-618-9185. KM&A can be reached by email at lawyer@lawkm.com.

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