A wills lawyer can create a will that’s less about you and more about others. It’s a legal document where you state how your assets should be distributed after you pass away. In your will, you can name a guardian for your minor children. Your assets will be distributed after your death whether you have a will or not. The question is, do you want some control over that distribution or should state law decide who gets what?
A Cape Girardeau Wills Attorney Can Put Your Wishes on Paper and Into Action
You should have a solid estate plan, including a will, no matter how big or small your estate. You can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve put down instructions and they will be followed. Our Cape Girardeau wills attorney at Birk Law Firm can put together an estate plan and will for you and your family. A benefit of working with our team is you’ll have an attorney who is also a C.P.A. This added specialization makes Birk Law your best option for making any estate plans, whether you need a will, a trust, or other planning documents like a living will or a power of attorney for health care.
Your will may be one of the greatest gifts you give to your loved ones. Rather than leaving them with questions about your wishes, they will know what you wanted; how your assets get distributed to what and who you cared about will be clear, and they will follow through for you. There’s no confusion or worry about what should be done next. A well-drafted will can also make the probate process shorter and less complicated.
What Type of Lawyer Helps with Wills?
An Estate Planning Attorney Can Create the Right Will for You
A will is a legal document stating who receives what property when you die (your beneficiaries). Probate can take place whether there’s a will or not. It may be avoided if you have a small estate under Missouri law (worth $40,000 or less) or you take other estate planning steps like a trust.
Your will can name the person in charge of your estate (the entity that owns your assets and liabilities after your death). The executor (male) or executrix (female) should become your estate’s personal representative after your death. This person will organize your assets and debts, decide what needs to be paid, and follow your instructions as much as possible.
Anyone at least 18 years old and of sound mind can make a will. Creating a will can make sense whether you’re married, have children and property, or not. A Missouri will is legal if it’s signed and two people witnessed the signature.
Your beneficiaries can be any person or organization you choose, with some limits. If your surviving spouse doesn’t like your will, he or she can select a certain amount from your estate as spelled out in state law. Assets you bequeath to others could be property, investments, a business ownership, cash, vehicles, and items that have personal or family value.
Just because your will states that your assets will go to beneficiaries, this doesn’t mean that will necessarily happen. Your estate’s personal representative will pay necessary bills, taxes, and fees. What’s left can be distributed to your beneficiaries.
A will can be changed through a codicil. It has all the legal requirements of a will, so as a practical matter, just writing a new will may be a better idea. Part of the language of this new will should state that older wills are canceled and no longer valid. An older will can also be invalidated if it and all copies are destroyed.
What type of lawyer helps with wills? One who knows the law and can make the probate process easier. A “self-proving” will uses special language that the witnesses sign and the maker’s signature is acknowledged by a notary public. When it’s used, a “self-proving” will can move through probate court without the witnesses’ appearing in court to attest to the will’s validity.
Without a will, after necessary debts are paid, your property will go to your next of kin. Who that may be depends on which relatives survive you. It could be someone as close as your child or parent or could go to an aunt or cousin. If no relatives are found, your property would go to the state.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Draw Up a Will?
Only If You Want to Make Sure It’s Done Right
You could do many things to improve your will and make it easier for your beneficiaries. A wills attorney can also make suggestions that will make the probate process go more smoothly.
Does a Joint Will for a Married Couple Make Sense?
Missouri law recognizes joint wills. Unless you pass away in the same accident, you probably won’t die at the same time. You also likely don’t own everything jointly. Separate wills can allow for each person to cover issues like personal property and children from previous relationships. Many of these wills state that both can change the will or no one can. You can have two wills that mirror, or nearly mirror, each other and retain more flexibility. Our experienced wills attorney at Birk Law Firm has the knowledge of all options available to you and can help you make the best choice of how to structure your will.
Who Should Be My Executor?
Name someone capable and trustworthy to execute your will. It could be a spouse, an adult child, a friend, or sibling. If your affairs are complex, you could name an attorney or a person with legal and or financial expertise. You could also name joint executors, but you risk disagreements which could grind the estate process to a stop.
What Should I Do with My Will?
A probate court usually requires an original will before your estate can be processed, but a copy can be used in limited circumstances. Keep the original will safe but accessible. If it’s in a bank safe deposit box that only you can access, your family might need a court order to get it. Another option is a safe deposit box that can be accessed by close family members.
Can I Change My Will?
Your will can and should be updated. Your family may change over time. You may get married or divorced, have additional children, grandchildren may be born, or someone you named as a beneficiary may die. You may lose interest in an organization you wanted to fund through your will. You can replace it with another. Your assets may grow or shrink. You can talk to a wills lawyer to ask questions about events that may prompt the need to change your will and how often it is appropriate to update your will, depending on its contents and your circumstances.
Should My Will Be Specific or More General About What Should Be Done?
A vague will isn’t a good idea. Don’t assume your family will know what you want. This can be a problem if you have family members who don’t get along. If you state a daughter is to get your house with the hope that your son will live there too, it may not work that way after you’re gone. Unless your daughter has a legal duty to do so, she can keep him out.
Your instructions should be specific but not so much that they’re impractical. If you state that a certain asset goes to a specific person, your will should list an alternate beneficiary. The first-choice person may be unwilling or unable to take it. When an attorney who has extensive experience in drafting wills helps construct yours, you’ll know that all such considerations will be addressed. Your will can have all the information it needs, but not so much detail that it’s not practical.
Can I State in My Will That Multiple People Can Get the Same Asset?
You can, but does that make sense? If you leave a home to multiple people, what happens if they have different plans? Perhaps one wants to live there, another wants to sell it, another doesn’t want to pay to repair it. There are several options available to you. You could have the estate sell the house. If one of your children wants the home, he or she can buy it. The house could be put in a trust. The trustee could be responsible for it while your children benefit from it.
Contact a Wills Lawyer in Cape Girardeau Today
Do you need a lawyer to draw up a will? Writing your own could cause major problems for your family. With our help, through your will and estate plan, you can make decisions about your assets while you’re healthy and clear-headed. You can talk about your ideas with family members to get their input. There won’t be any surprises after you pass away.
Wills aren’t just for the wealthy, but don’t think all you need to do is fill out a will form from the internet. A form that doesn’t comply with Missouri law or fully represent your wishes adds needless confusion, anger, and expense to probate. It may be worse than having no will at all. You can prevent problems and conflict that could arise after you’re gone. We’re here to help you and your family. Talk to our will lawyer in Cape Girardeau at Birk Law Firm today at 573-332-8585. Kelvin Birk brings added skills to any planning for your estate because he’s not just an attorney. He’s also a C.P.A.
ALL YOUR LEGAL NEEDS
Why Choose Birk Law?
Birk Law Firm is a small firm by choice that is big on client services. Attorney Kelvin Birk and his team are responsive to their clients’ needs. When we sign on as your law firm, you can count on us for strong legal counsel, from negotiations to settlement to trial.
Our clients benefit from the intertwining of Kelvin Birk’s legal and CPA background and experience. We provide well-rounded advice to solve both legal and financial issues and to come up with creative solutions. We use modern technology to deliver legal services in a more efficient and client-focused manner than was previously possible.
We provide personalized and compassionate service. We believe that each client’s matter is the most important matter in the world to them, and we strive to treat it that way.