Hi, I’m Sarah Siedentopf. I’m an estate planning and probate attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. So, basics of estate planning. Today, we’re talking about wills. A will is the basic estate planning document. You know you need one. You may not be sure why you need one and you definitely feel too busy to go and get one.
But what is a will and why do you need it? And why should you figure out how to get a break in your busy schedule and come in and get one?
The will is the document that sets up an executor to handle your affairs once you’ve passed away. This is a very important thing to designate, because some of our loved ones are just not that good at handling money and they’re not that good at handling processes and you want to know that you have put someone in place that will help ease the headache and heartache that happens when you’ve passed away.
Of course, the will also distributes your assets. This person that you’ve put in charge will make sure that your debts are paid and then, that whatever is left over goes to whoever you said that it should go to. This is also very important because we do have issues when executors don’t do exactly what they’re supposed to do and people get the wrong amount.
But the thing you really have probably always thought of with the will is if you have minor children, it sets up a guardian for your children. If something happens to you, it’s also possible that something will happen to the child’s other parent, either in quick succession or at the same time.
You want to make sure that the right person takes charge of your child. You don’t want to leave it to the courts and maybe have a child entering the foster care system. You want to know that you have designated the guardian who will love your children and take care of them. So, these are the main things that a will does. If properly drafted, it actually makes things easier for the executor and takes away some of the burdens that the courts otherwise impose. But these are the basics and why you should consider getting your will in place now.
If you’ve got any questions about this, please let me know. Thanks.
Basics of Estate Planning series – Quick Links:
- Basics of Estate Planning (part 1) – Protecting yourself, your family and your assets
- Basics of Estate Planning (part 2) – What are wills?
- Basics of Estate Planning (part 3) – What is a financial power of attorney and why would you want one?
- Basics of Estate Planning (part 4) – What is the Advance Directive for Health Care and why you would need one?
- Basics of Estate Planning (part 5) – What is a Standby Guardian and why you should designate one for your children?
- Basics of Estate Planning (part 6) – How and where to safely store your estate planning documents