The act of preparing a will with an attorney is not an exciting option to some people. It is already difficult to discuss dying and the impact on our families, but the challenge is even more daunting when you consider visiting and paying a lawyer to deal with such an important matter. However, I am here to provide some encouragement and general information on why it is a good idea to see a lawyer to work on your will. I am confident that my colleagues can give many reasons, but here are five good reasons that you should consider:
- A Lawyer Will Help With All the Formalities. It is important to make sure that your will is not only properly executed, but the law requires witnesses. A lawyer can assist you with these essential details and provide some insight into important will components like selecting a personal representative.
- Estate Planning is Not Expensive. In lieu of drafting your own will or using one of the online wills, I would recommend discussing the cost of estate planning with an attorney. Many attorneys are drafting quality wills at a reasonable price and it is always easy to shop around for the best option for your budget.
- A Clear Expression of Your Wishes is Paramount. You cannot speak from the grave, so your will is the best chance to memorialize what you want to happen when you die. A lawyer will assist you in avoiding vague or confusing wording and lessen the likelihood of family discord after your death.
- If You Don’t Pick, the State Will Do It For You. If you don’t have a will, the State of South Carolina has intestacy laws that determine where your assets go after you die. These laws may not reflect what you want to happen. For example, your wife may be forced to split assets with your adult children under state law.
- What You Don’t Know About Estate Planning Can Hurt You. An attorney can assist you on general issues that you may not consider in drafting a simple will. For example, there are certain items like insurance proceeds that may not pass through your will. Also, it is smart to have a plan for assets that you may acquire after the will or that you may have just simply forgot about while preparing your will.
While you may certainly attempt to write your own will or just ignore such a difficult topic, I would recommend talking to an attorney. If interested, you can contact one of our attorneys at Finklea Law Firm here. You can also find more information related to our probate and estate planning services here. Peace of mind for you and your family is invaluable and it will take very little effort for you to have a plan to reach that goal.
~ Charlie J. Blake, Jr. (May 2019)