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Do you have a Last Will and Testament (“will”)? If not, the time to make a will is right now. Everyone needs a will, regardless of the person’s financial, marital, or family situation. A will is a vital estate planning tool that ensures your wishes are implemented after your death. Otherwise, you allow state laws, judges, and others to make highly sensitive and personal decisions for you.
The Nebraska wills attorneys of Berkshire & Burmeister can help you develop a will that addresses important issues, makes your desires known, and protects your family and loved ones after your death.
The most basic answer to this question is that you need a will because you have the right to decide how your final estate is distributed. However, you must exercise your right by drafting and signing a valid, legal will. If you do not have a will, the intestate laws determine who inherits your property and in what percentage of your estate each heir receives. Even if you are not concerned with choosing which family members receive property from your estate, there are other important reasons why you need a will.
Without a will, you cannot name a guardian for your minor children. If you and your child’s other parent are deceased, the court decides who raises and cares for your children. The court may appoint someone to manage your child’s inheritance under court supervision. Therefore, your child might not receive the full benefit of his or her inheritance.
With a will, you choose a guardian for your child, and you choose how your child’s inheritance is managed and at what age your child receives that inheritance.
Without a will, friends and charities cannot receive property from your estate. Intestate laws do not recognize friends or charitable organizations as heirs. In many cases, only immediate family members receive property from the estate under intestate laws. If you have a distant relative that you are close to and would like to inherit from your estate, you must have a will to ensure that your wishes are honored.
Some individuals write their own wills or use a will template they find online. While some of those DIY wills might be legal, many of the templates you find online do not have the language necessary for a valid will.
Furthermore, do-it-yourself wills often do not cover all issues that need to be addressed to ensure that your wishes are honored after your death. These wills can make it much harder for family members, especially if the will is challenged or the court does not recognize the will. Instead of saving money, you might create a situation in which your family spends more money and time in probating your estate than had you invested in a will drafted by an experienced estate planning attorney. Many DIY wills are not enforceable or have provisions with unintended consequences.
If so, we invite you to discuss your concerns and questions with one of our Nebraska wills attorneys. You can learn more about estate planning and wills by scheduling a free consultation with a Berkshire & Burmeister lawyer. Call 402-827-7000 to schedule your appointment.