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Trust and Estates Attorneys

Practical Suggestions for Bethesda Wills 

The process of drafting a last will and testament can be complicated for individuals unfamiliar with the terminology and the provisions that are common or recommended in a last will and testament. However, there are practical suggestions for Bethesda wills that you can follow, in order to make the process of writing your will easier. Contact an adept wills lawyer who will have knowledge of the steps you can take to streamline your will-writing process and can guide you through that process.

Will-Writing Process

The process for law offices is relatively simple and is usually completed in two meetings. An individual and their attorney will usually have an initial meeting to discuss the estate planning options, make recommendations for estate plans, and guide the client through making the important decisions that need to be made to begin to draft the last will and testament.

After the initial meeting, lawyers spend a few weeks drafting and exchanging drafts with the client to make sure that the will or the comprehensive plan meets their overall goals. Then the client comes back in for one more will targeting meeting.

Duration of a Will-Writing Process

On average, the entire process of writing a will from start to finish will usually take six to eight weeks. However, depending on the complexity of the plan, it could take a little bit longer. Certainly, they have to be able to accommodate clients in very quick turnaround times when they know that there is an impending emergency situation.

It is great to begin a process prior to an emergency, an impending surgery, or some other event. Being able to have time to make these decisions and meditate on them is very important. While law offices may send out drafts in just a few weeks, often clients take several months to review the draft before they are ready to finalize them. So, the thinking and result processes that go on behind creating a last will and testament are best done when an individual is in clear mind and has the time to contemplate some of these questions.

Law firms often send a questionnaire that asks individuals to provide an inventory of their assets and their liabilities, the individuals that they would like to include, and whatever other goals they have for estate planning. Attorneys use a questionnaire both to get the client thinking about those decisions that will have to be made in the first meeting, and so that the attorney can tailor the first meeting to the client’s preferences, the unique family dynamic, or distribution patterns.

Importance of Having  Guidelines

One of the practical suggestions for Bethesda wills is to have a set of guidelines to streamline the will writing process. A last will and testament is usually part of a more comprehensive estate plan. Understanding that it is part of the overall plan, given the complexity of the tax laws and the complexity of the estate insurance clause, has increased significantly over the past several years. Estate planning often becomes a little bit more complicated. There is not a one size fits all plan or will for each client, it may take an attorney and a client a little bit of time to determine what the best plan for a client’s case may be.

Function of a Will

Some of the important elements of a last will and testament include a nomination of a personal representative with clear information from the decedent about who should serve. It is often easier for the estate to be opened timely and for the administration process to begin. In addition, a clear distribution of assets after death allows for the minimization of a family dispute and for keeping down administrative costs, such as attorney’s fees, other expenses, and taxes.

For clients that have minor children, creating trusts for minor children in a last will and testament becomes very important as well as naming a guardian in the event that both parents are unable to act on behalf or to take care of the children. Other important elements of the last will and testament often include how the personal representative will serve and if there are any tax provisions that can help to minimize exposure to estate taxes.

Importance of Updating Beneficiaries in Wills

Typically, it is suggested to review a last will and testament every three or five years. If any major life events have occurred, often or not often, sometimes individuals will write a last will and testament and not have updated it, like for a birth or death. That can result in some complication because the document is either out of date, the births or deaths are significant, or a change in wealth could lead to ambiguities or illiquidity in the estate, which can cause a prolonged estate administration and often additional administrative expenses.

Suggestions About Writing Will

There is no bad time to begin estate planning. The documents are organic documents that are meant to be changed throughout an individual’s lifetime. Many times individuals are afraid or have some preemptive notions that creating a last will and testament is suggestive or implicit of their impending death or catastrophic event. That is not the case. A comprehensive estate plan is meant to be adjusted and changed throughout an individual’s lifetime to reflect major events in the individual’s life.

Often if the individual takes the mindset that this is the best gift that they could give their family or their loved ones, it is an estate that is free of many issues or administrative expenses. They take a different approach and have a different mindset when it comes to estate planning. The documents are reflective expressions of someone’s life as opposed to being something that is catastrophic or morbid after death.

Value of an Attorney

An attorney can guide a person through the entire process. While there may be triggers for individuals who want to begin the process, a lawyer or an estates and trust attorney can often guide an individual throughout the entire process from the start to finish.

Of all of the practical suggestions for Bethesda wills, the most practical suggestion is to get in touch with an attorney. A popular misconception is that writing a will is only for those who are dying and/or are elderly but by writing a will you are being proactive. A lawyer can help you navigate the process of writing a will. Get in contact with an attorney who can ensure that your interests are protected.