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Some common questions that our clients typically ask themselves when considering whether they need a will:
"Why do I even need a will?"
“What will happen if I don’t have a will?"
“How do I make a will?"
These are just a few of the questions that frequently arise when our clients are considering whether a will is right for them. Wills can be a complicated subject, so it’s best to schedule an appointment to discuss the topic in person with one of our experienced attorneys. If you still have questions concerning your will, please call our office to schedule an appointment.
1. What is a will?
A will is a signed writing in which a person (often referred to as the “testator") determines what happens to his or her property after death. Every state has specific laws dedicated to wills, so it is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney draft your will. Our attorneys are licensed in Virginia and North Carolina.
2. Who may make a will?
Any person who is mentally competent and over the age of 18.
3. Why do you need a will?
You can decide how your property is divided after your death, not the state.
You can name the person you want to handle your estate (called the “executor" or “personal representative").
You can save taxes.
You can nominate a guardian for your minor children.
You may provide for a trust for the support and education of your children without the necessity of costly court proceedings and choose the person you want to handle the trust.
4. What happens if you don’t have a will?
If you die without a will, it is usually said that you died “intestate.” This means that a state statute directs who will receive your property, regardless of your wishes.
5. Who should draft your will?
Drafting a will can be a complicated process. In order to draft a will, the drafter must be familiar with the law in order to avoid the many pitfalls and to comply with the formalities necessary to assure the will’s validity.
Before your appointment, take these four practical steps help ensure that we meet all of your personal needs:
Take an inventory of your assets. Work with your financial planner to list in reasonable detail all of your property. This list should include: real (i.e., house, land, etc.) and personal property (i.e. car, antiques, etc.); life insurance policies; and retirement plans. Include the beneficiaries of the plans, so that your advisor may accurately draft the will.
Inventory your liabilities. List all debts and obligations.
List your family members, organizations, and/or other persons whom you want your property to be given. Then consider who might be an appropriate executor (oversees the distribution of the estate), trustee, or guardian for your minor children.
At Gunther Law Group, our attorneys understand that making a will is a personal matter. Because of our understanding and experience, we take the time with each client to fully understand their objectives for their will.