As a wills and trusts lawyer in Bethesda and Upper Marlboro, it’s easy to see why so many people put off writing their last will and testament. After all, no one really wants to think about their own death, let alone prepare for it. In reality, though, preparing by creating a will is exactly what we should all be doing. There are plenty of reasons to consider, and any reputable wills and trusts lawyer will be able to go through the list with you to ensure that you are protecting your assets and the people you love.
Despite not wanting to think about death, the reality of it is inevitable. If you have not prepared by writing a will, then you are risking both your own wishes and the outcome for those you love. This may be especially important for parents.
If you haven’t put together your last will and testament, then your children’s future can be in serious jeopardy. For example, you may assume that your property would simply pass on to your kids, but the courts may have other ideas. Additionally, other family members (such as a new spouse) may step in and take things that you intended for your children.
The most extreme example, however, likely comes along with guardianship. To ensure that your children are raised in the fashion you deem appropriate, you need to specify their guardians. This is done through the last will and testament, and the best way to make sure your wishes are known is to work with a wills and trusts lawyer now, before the issue is completely out of your hands.
Some Bethesda and Upper Marlboro residents feel that they don’t need a last will and testament simply because they are married. They assume that if they were to die, their assets, property, children, etc. would automatically pass to the spouse. In some rare cases, this may not be true, as others may have a legitimate claim to an inheritance when a will hasn’t been written. It is heartbreaking to know that your spouse may not be the beneficiary of those things you most want him or her to have.
Of course, there’s also the possibility of both spouses being dying at one time. In situations like that, there is no surviving spouse to speak up for the children or to have a say in the distribution of assets. Again, the courts will have a much bigger say in the outcome of your estate than you would probably like.
Creating a will doesn’t have to be an overly-complicated activity, although it makes sense to consult with a good wills and trusts lawyer to ensure you are covering the basics and fulfilling any legal requirements applicable to Maryland residents. While it’s certainly not ideal to spend time imagining what would happen to your family and assets after your death, doing so now can make an incredible difference later.
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About Nicole K. White
After losing a close relative, Nicole witnessed the devastation, enormous expense and chaos caused by not having a simple estate plan. It is Nicole’s mission to educate parents, especially single parents, about protecting themselves, their families, minor children, and assets with comprehensive Estate Planning.