When you have worked hard to create stability and a future for your loved ones, it is important to make sure that legacy is passed on in the way you intended. You may believe that in the event of your death your estate will transfer smoothly to those to whom you wish to leave it, but probate and estate planning are quite complex.
Working with a wills attorney in DC who is experienced in the trust and estates process gives you the opportunity to explore various solutions to estate planning, to have the foresight to circumvent potential problems, to consider tax issues, and to create a will or revocable living trust that allows you to leave your legacy as you see fit.
Importance of a Last Will and Testament
Often, people put off estate planning, thinking that creating a will is something only the elderly or ill need to consider. Others believe that they do not have enough accumulated wealth or real or personal property to necessitate a will. However, careful estate planning can be beneficial for anyone, regardless of age, health, or income bracket. Someone who is still unsure of whether they want to create their own will and testament should discuss the basics of creating one and their particular case with an attorney as soon as possible.
Some people believe that there is no need to hire a DC wills attorney to help them create a last will and testament when they can simply create a holographic will in their own hand. Although holographic wills are valid and executable in Washington, DC, there are many additional complications that can come up, which is when an experienced lawyer’s assistance will come in handy.
Laws of Intestacy
If a person dies without a will, he or she is considered to have died “intestate.” When this happens, laws of intestacy in DC apply to the transfer of the estate. The laws of intestacy often do not mirror what a decedent would have wanted. For example, the laws of intestacy may dictate that a person’s assets pass partly to his or her surviving parents instead of being preserved entirely to care for the surviving spouse.
There are several reasons why a person may not wish to have the laws of intestacy to determine the transfer of the estate. By creating a will with the help of a DC wills lawyer, you allow your estate to be transferred to those close to you in the appropriate manner for your relationships, including providing an inheritance to extended family members and close friends or leaving a gift to a charitable organization.
Living Wills in DC
Living wills, also sometimes called advance medical directives, are not related to a person’s last will and testament. They are instructions created by a person that informs medical professionals and family members about their wishes for their medical care. These directives are especially useful and important should a person become unexpectedly incapacitated and are therefore unable to express their wishes themselves.
Benefit of Hiring a DC Wills Attorney
There is no legal requirement to hire an attorney to write your will in Washington, DC. However, working with a DC wills attorney can be instrumental in creating the type of will that best honors your wishes. Careful estate planning can reduce administrative costs and help to assist with the smooth transition of your assets to your loved ones. An attorney will be there to serve as a resource for any questions you may have related to important terms and/or processes. Because of the complexities of tax laws, options for creating a will or trust, and considerations in choosing an executor of your will or administrator of your estate, it may be helpful to retain legal counsel to guide you through making creating a plan for the future of your loved ones and the protection of the estate you created through a lifetime of work.
If you are at least 18 years of age and of “sound and disposing mind,” you are qualified under DC law to create a last will and testament that allows you to determine the way your property will be distributed after your death. To learn more about estate planning, trusts, and wills in Washington, DC, contact us to discuss your goals and review your options.
People who have recently experienced impactful life events will also want to get in touch with a lawyer to discuss creating or revoking a previous will. For example, if someone recently had a child and is interested in including the child in their new will, it will be necessary to revoke a pre-existing will that does not include the child in order to create a valid new will. If someone wants to make a minor adjustment to their will through a codicil, they should also seek a lawyer’s help.
Help Dealing With Potential Complications and Challenges
An experienced attorney brings a specific set of knowledge to the process of writing a last will and testament. Even though each case has its own unique aspects, someone who has handled these cases before will know specific procedure and methods of avoiding conflicts between heirs further down the line. For example, an experienced DC wills lawyer will know that there are certain practices that better benefits a client’s will from being contested as a result of undue influence during its creation.
Should questions of fraud in relation to the validity of a person’s last will and testament come up, an attorney will be able to find ways to prove the legitimacy of a person’a will. They will be able to call in witnesses to testify to the validity of the will.