Some people make assumptions about wills without doing much research. These folks end up missing out on the opportunity to ensure the safety of their family’s inheritance. In worst case scenarios, fights can break out between family members due to poorly constructed wills or wills not existing at all. The following seven myths have been debunked so that you are more aware of the truth behind having a will or probate.
A Will is Just for Deciding Who Gets What: While it is true that wills can contain information about how an estate will be split up, this is not the only reason why you should write a will. Wills can designate who will be the guardian of minors or protect against issues that may arise due to adult children divorcing.
You’re Too Young to Write a Will: No one knows how long they will live, so it’s best to prepare for the worst. People who die suddenly and leave no will can cause issues for their surviving spouse or children. Anyone over the age of 18 should write a will if only to be a step ahead and ensure the safety of their estate.
Without a Will, the State Will Take Everything: If you die without a will, state law will determine how your estate will be split up. In most states, the surviving spouse and children will be the first to inherit the estate. The only time the state will keep your estate is if there are no living relatives to inherit the estate at all. However, do not rely on the state to take care of your estate completely when you die. Write a will in order to make sure your wishes are carried out properly.
When You Die, Your Debts Will Die, Too: This is not necessarily true. When you die, your debts will be paid by the estate you leave behind. The remaining estate after paying the debt will then be distributed according to your wishes. If the estate cannot pay the debt in full, creditors will take what they can before writing off the remaining debt.
Probate is Expensive: Many estates don’t require probate proceedings. If an estate requires a probate, the cost is usually about 5% of its value. For smaller estates, probate shortcuts can assist in clearing the estate and keeping the cost low. If you’re not sure, reach out to an attorney to further assist you.
It Can Take Years to Probate an Estate: Usually the only delay that occur in resolving the estate is the time it takes for creditors to file their claims. By then, the estate can be resolved in a few months after representatives gather all assets, pay all debts, and take care of any taxes. Most estates can clear in about a year.
Already Having a Will Means You Can Forget About It: As time passes, your wishes regarding the splitting of your estate could drastically change. Life changing events such as divorce, remarriage, birth or death could require a change in your earlier will. Wills should be reviewed every 5 years to ensure your wishes are still be reflected properly.
If you’re not sure about your will or whether you need a probate for your estate, speaking to an experienced estate attorney is highly recommended. Reach out to Erickson Law Offices for an initial consultation today. We’ll do our best to take care of you and your inheritance needs.