The process of estate planning can be complex. The types of laws applicable to an estate plan make the creation of estate plans and the drafting of appropriate documents difficult. Each individual has a unique situation, because they have a variety of assets, liabilities, wishes, and family dynamics that are unique to them and to their situation.
Documents that are tailored to address a person’s goals can often take time to prepare and analyze to ensure that their goals are met. Sometimes individuals misunderstand the process of creating a last will and testament, but the reality is that documents are tailored to meet their needs and the thought, time, and analysis that is required can take time to complete. In this regard, a Virginia wills attorney can be helpful in providing streamlined service and practical suggestions for the creation and execution of wills in Virginia.
Key Factors of a Will
One of the key factors of a last will and testament suggested for an efficient will in Virginia is that it often names an executor and an alternate executor. Because of that, who has the authority to serve on behalf of the estate is more clearly defined. For example, if an individual died without a last will and testament and they had three children, all three of those children may be entitled or have priority under the Commonwealth of Virginia’s law to serve as the executor on behalf of the estate. If all three of those children get along and can agree on which of those children will serve, it is not an issue. However, if the children do not agree on who can serve and there is contention or a family dispute, there may be a delay and additional administrative and legal costs associated with having somebody qualified to serve on behalf of the estate.
If that same individual had a last will and testament that nominated an executor, all of those issues could be avoided and the estate may be more easily opened and streamlined. In order to avoid family disputes and additional expenses and administrative costs, a practical suggestion for wills execution in Virginia is to clearly define who the executor should be in the last will and testament.
Another key element of a last will and testament is a consideration of how assets are going to be distributed at the death of the decedent. For example, if a decedent had a last will and testament that left all of their assets to whoever they wished, the decedent or the testator could be sure that their assets were distributed pursuant to their wishes.
If there was a sole individual who was not married and had no children, who estranged their father and passes away, the fact that they were estranged would not negate the father’s ability to inherit from the child’s estate. That might have been contrary to where the individual would have wanted their assets to go if he had made a last will and testament.
The laws of intestacy in Virginia would begin to determine where those assets are distributed when a decedent dies without a last will and testament. Often, once an individual is subject to the laws of intestacy and has already passed away, there is not much that can be done to change those assets from the rightful heirs under Virginia’s law. Since a last will and testament clearly outlines what a testator’s wish are, often but not always, the last will and testament can serve to minimize family disputes and minimize exposure to estate taxes or additional administrative expenses and costs.
An attorney can help a person in their practical suggestion of determining what a person’s objectives are. An attorney can assist in helping to identify or discern what goals are important by having important conversations about someone’s assets and about their wishes. That process is not one that needs to occur prior to speaking with an attorney.
Writing a last will and testament and completing the other planning for incapacity is an important gift to give one’s self and to provide for their loved ones. It is important to go through the process of contemplating estate planning and creating documents that provide for both an individual’s lifetime and the distribution of their assets after death.