RTZ Law associate Matt Morelli spoke last week to his BNI group about the importance of estate planning, and cleared up several common questions and misconceptions involving wills and estates. One question that came up in his discussion was whether people need a will in place even when there are no children involved. Here is a brief look at Matt's answer to this common misconception.
"I am married, but have no children and don't have much to pass on when I die. I don't need a will because everything will automatically pass on to my spouse, right?"
First and foremost, everyone should have a will and keep it up to date. There are a number of reasons to draft and maintain a will, even in this seemingly simple situation. It is true that the spouse would be the sole heir-at-law in this instance; however, if assets were held in one spouse's name only, then a properly drafted will could make the probate process much quicker and simpler for the surviving spouse.
Furthermore, an attorney could assist with other planning, such as titling property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, so that such property would automatically transfer without having to go through the probate process. An attorney may also suggest having a general durable Power of Attorney to have someone else take care of business matters if one becomes incapacitated. This helps avoid the need for appointment of a guardian.
An attorney with expertise in estate planning can help not only with the drafting of a Last Will and Testament and other estate planning documents, but can also provide advice on how to make the probate process as simple as possible or not even necessary for those that are left behind.
For more information on how our firm can assist you in the estate planning process, please contact Matt Morelli at email@example.com or 912.353.9300.