When constructing an estate plan, one must first focus on the bread and the butter, the written will. A will tells the powers that be where, to whom, and how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death. These assets include but are not limited to bank accounts, 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions and insurance policies, and any property worth more than $100. Additionally, if you are the parent of a minor, a will designates guardianship.
In the event that you pass away without a will, the state decides who gets what based on a rigid set of rules that may or may not match up with your wishes (chances are, they won’t).
Though there are plenty of do-it-yourself software programs and online services that claim to generate a well-devised will without an attorney, you should think twice before forgoing legal advice when developing a will. It is especially important to consult an attorney if you have particularly large assets, own a business or have special guardianship concerns (e.g. an adult with disabilities for whom you are the caregiver).
To be clear, you do not legally NEED an attorney to prepare a will, but details are more likely to fall through the cracks if you write it yourself. A will consultation is a low-cost legal service that can make all the difference for the ones you love. Your peace of mind and the future well-being of your family is at stake, so we recommend not taking any chances with an automated program.
Call or contact the experienced estate planning team at Virginia Beach Law Group today to get started writing your will, establishing trusts, power of attorney and medical directives. David Johnson specializes in all aspects of estate planning and will advise you as to the best steps for your unique situation. After all, it’s not likely that anyone else’s estate plan will look just like yours.