Estate planning is imperative for anyone who has built a life over the years and is looking to carefully outline a plan that comprehensively indicates the estate planner’s wishes and how they would like their assets allocated in the future. A will is one document within the estate planning process that is imperative as without assets in a trust or will, assets may be required to pass through probate, and the court will decide how assets are distributed to heirs. A critical aspect of the will is appointing a trusted party to act as the estate administrator, who will be responsible for distributing assets, paying estate debts, and resolving the estate. It’s important to be aware that a professional should be utilized when developing a will because as a wills lawyer Knoxville, TN families recommend from Carpenter & Lewis PLLC can share, moving forward with developing a will without help can result in several complications.
Reasons a Will is Important
A will, also called a last will and testament, is a critical document that outlines how assets will be distributed to heirs, appoints an executor, and plans for how the children will be taken care of and who will take care of them. While all wills must endure the probate process, probate can become highly complicated without a will in place because decisions over a person’s estate will be left to the judge who presides over the probate court. There are numerous reasons that a will is essential for anyone over the age of 18, including:
- Remain in control over how heirs inherit accumulated wealth
- Allocate assets to identified beneficiaries
- Clearly outline who you would not like to inherit assets
- Develop plans for the most valued assets, your children
- Provide peace of mind for you and your family members by knowing there is a plan
- Reduce the complications that may arise
- Identify an estate administrator who will manage the estate when the time comes
- Provide detailed instructions about burial and funeral wishes
While drafting a will is essential, many people continue to put off the process, and in delaying this crucial document, several issues can arise.
The Role of an Estate Administrator
One of the most important decisions that must be made with writing a will is choosing a person who will act as the estate administrator when the time comes. The estate administrator carries a significant role in the process because they will be responsible for initiating probate, reviewing finances, taking an inventory of assets, paying off estate debts, filing taxes, and ultimately distributing assets to beneficiaries. However, the estate administrator will also have to manage beneficiaries throughout the process, which can be challenging as grieving family members who would like access to their inheritance may be emotional and difficult to work with. When looking for an estate administrator, the person writing the will should take the time to carefully select a person they can trust to take on this significant role. However, testators must take two key steps. It is essential to speak with potential candidates to ensure they are up for the task. In addition, the testator should also name backups to ensure that there is someone who can step in should the primary estate executor no longer wish to take on this role.
Problems that May Arise From Making Your Own Will
Although developing a will may seem like a reasonably straightforward process, it’s essential to consider the complexities of creating a will without a professional. Many people may be tempted to use a do-it-yourself tool to generate the will. However, forgoing legal assistance and attempting to develop a will without help can cause problems. Wills that were created without help could leave out key components, may be deemed invalid, fail to take into account tax considerations, and more. As a result, assets may not be protected, and the inheritance for heirs will not be maximized in the way they should have. Because of this, when developing a will without a lawyer, it’s essential to proceed with caution.