The terms and the concepts that are used in a last will and testament can be complex. When creating a last will and testament, there are a lot of different types of laws that are applicable. For example, there are probate laws, tax laws and, sometimes common laws that the individual creating the last will and testament may not be familiar with if they are not an attorney.
When obtaining a will in Virginia and working with an attorney, the estate planning process can be streamlined. A Virginia Wills attorney can request from a client all the information they need. They can also guide a client through the estate planning process and give the client suggestions for estate plans that would be beneficial, such as how to change plans so they are practical, and even avoid or minimize the exposure to estate tax or additional administrative fees.
Process of Obtaining a Will
With the assistance of an attorney, a will can be created in a couple meetings. In the initial meeting, the attorney reviews the client’s assets, estate planning options, and tax laws. The client makes a number of decisions that will allow the attorney to draft documents. The client can review the documents from home and make any suggestions or requests for changes. Once the documents have been finalized, the client and attorney meet again, which is essentially a will ceremony to sign the documents.
Creating a last will and testament is one part of an estate plan. It is the piece that deals with what happens with assets or how assets are distributed after death. The second and often overlooked, but equally, if not more, important aspect of an estate plan, is dealing with incapacity, because having incapacity planning in place will affect a testator during their lifetime rather than just at death.
The process for creating an estate plan and obtaining a will in Virginia with the assistance of an attorney can be more streamlined, but the concepts required to be mastered to create the last will and testament and incapacitated planning can be confusing for an individual who does not do this type of practice all the time.
Length of the Process
The length of the process of obtaining a will in Virginia will depend in part on the person and how long it takes them to review and comment on their draft. It can be done usually in six to eight weeks, and even quicker in an emergency situation. However, it is best not to wait for an emergency situation to create a last will and testament. It is often easier to begin the process prior to any illness or prior to an emergency while the important decisions that have to made with regard to how to protect the person or the person’s family can be made in a calm and timely environment without the additional undue pressure of being in a difficult situation.
Attorneys have questionnaires that help an individual begin the process at contemplating their last will and testament. Some of the information to be gathered includes details about accounts, assets, holdings, liabilities, how assets are titled if there are beneficiary designations, and insurance. All of these things are looked at when making suggestions for an estate plan.
Important of Accuracy of Beneficiaries
When obtaining a will in Virginia, it is important to make sure an attorney is available to help review all information presented. Reviewing a person’s last will and testament after a major life event, such as the birth of a child, a marriage, a divorce, the death of a loved one, a significant increase or decrease in assets, and change of ownership of assets is important, because there may be a necessity that the documents are tweaked to address a person’s wishes and to ensure the individuals they have named as beneficiaries are receiving the amounts a person may have wanted.
For example, it is not uncommon for a parent to leave all of their assets equally to their children. If that same parent, when they created their last will and testament, had money in a bank account worth a $100,000 and they wanted to leave that equally to their three children, then each child will receive approximately $33,000. However, if that parent changed the ownership of their bank account and made that bank account joint with another sibling, child, or individual, it is possible those three children would not receive equal amounts at all, and that two of the three children may not inherit anything from their parent’s estate. It is important to review last will and testaments to ensure they have been updated and that the beneficiaries named are whom the testator actually wishes to pass on their assets.