The information provided here is made available to interested parties who would like to obtain a broad general overview of wills, living wills, probate, taxes and possible estate planning strategies for their own particular concerns and considerations.
In many cases, depending on an individuals special interests, size of assets involved in transfer at death, and other special circumstances or unique desires, the actual legal structuring of an estate plan should only be undertaken with the advice and guidance of a personal family estate attorney and CPA tax advisor. And, we think it's fair to say, that in virtually all cases regarding estate plans, its well worth the time, effort and expense for everyone to have an updated "Last Will and Testament" and "Living Will" which should be prepared by an attorney.
A tax attorney once said, "...people who have Wills live 5 years longer."
We really don't know if that's true or not. But, when you think about it, it might make sense for some people, and it might be true because for those who create a Will, and, in addition, now more than ever, a "Living Will"... it might provide a comforting feeling...and it might provide a sense of "I've taken care of what I gotta take care of...and now I can relax attitude."
In any event, we think it's a major oversight for any adult to be without a Will and Living Will. And, to really get a good idea about what dying without a Will or Living Will really entails just ask anyone you know whose spouse, family member, friend, or acquaintance died without a Will or Living Will. It's not a pretty picture and it's easily and inexpensively avoidable.
Actually, it's not quite true that you don't have a Will or Living Will. You actually have a Will right now, and so do I. In effect, everyone living in the United States already has a Will. The only difference between Wills of one person and another is that some people wrote their own Will and Living Will, which included their personal wishes, and the rest of us have Wills (but, not Living Wills) written by the state in which we're residents. Are the Wills written by the states that bad? Are they fair, reasonable and the type of Wills that every husband, father, mother, son, daughter, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, nephew, cousin, friend, lover, would normally write? We don't think so, and we think if you ever read what your state of residence for a Will has in store for your assets, you're not going to be a happy person. And, in the case of a Living Will, the recent tragic case in Florida is an unfortunate situation that everyone has finally been forced to confront.
In any event, you should get a legal Will and Living Will drafted for you by a licensed attorney in the state of your legal residence. In that Will and Living Will you, and you alone, will decide who get's your assets; who becomes the guardian for your minor children; who becomes the executor or executrix of your estate; who is included or excluded from receiving your assets; and who will have the power to carry out your wishes or manage your money if you no longer have the mental capacity to make life continuation decisions.
WHAT MAY HAPPEN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE
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