- Estate planning, introduction
- Estate planning, reasons and timing
- Estate planning, brief overview
- Check up for your will
- Last will and testament
- Contract of succession (aka contract to will) and inheritance renunciation contracts
- Business succession plan
- Funeral directive
- Organizational arrangements: leave everything orderly
- Estate administration, probate services, partition
- Inheritance litigation and inheritance dispute
- Revision of the inheritance law, part 1
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Feather your Own Nest
Do you insure yourself against a risk before it occurs? Yes? Even your assets that you have worked so hard to acquire? Take precautions as quickly as possible. Write your will NOW. One thing is certain, one day you will die.
Dying without a Will, Leaving It up to the State
Dying without a Will renders one “Intestate.” That means the law, not the decedent, determines the identity and priority of their heirs, and how their estate will be divided. A valid, handwritten, properly signed and dated Will is the only way to override statutory definitions of who is, and is not, an heir, and what percentage of the estate they will receive. A Will is also the only way to designate an Executor to manage your estate.
Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament is quite possibly the most important legal document you will ever draft and execute on your own behalf. True, the mortgage on your house may be substantial, but the documents were drafted by your lender. Similarly, your employment agreement, pension plan and insurance policies were prepared by others. You signed. A will is different. It requires initiative on your part to summarize your testamentary wishes, and once summarized, memorialize them in a valid, legally enforceable document.
How do you want to be remembered? Often you wish to please someone, pass on your good fortune or say thank you to someone. The new inheritance law allows you to always freely dispose of at least half of your estate.
Single people often prefer a third-party beneficiary, e.g. friends or charitable organizations.
Married persons often wish to benefit either the spouse or the descendants. Widowed or divorced spouses, on the other hand, may sometimes desire to include a life partner or stepchild.
Take Note: Compulsory Shares
The simplest wills designate who inherits your Assets upon death. The designated recipients in a Will are your Heirs, Beneficiaries and Legatees. You have considerable authority naming heirs and beneficiaries, but that authority is not absolute. There are certain compulsory shares, e.g., provision for children and for your spouse, that cannot be ignored. It is important, when drafting even the simplest will, to respect these limitations.
As of January 1, 2023, the new, revised inheritance law will come into force: the compulsory portion of the descendants will be reduced and the statutory share of the parents will be abolished. Are the arrangements you have made still up to date?
What assets can you pass on? Who is your legal heir?
Who else should benefit? Do you wish to include friends, your life partner, your stepchildren or various organizations?
Why Retaining a Lawyer?
I encourage you to retain a lawyer when drafting any estate-related document. The fate and disposition of your life’s savings should not hinge on a template you discovered on the Internet. A lawyer can ensure that your will is properly drafted. A lawyer can preempt conflict among putative heirs, ensure your family and loved ones are protected, and minimize the odds that your document will be contested. In short, a lawyer can make sure that your last wishes are expressed unambiguously, accurately and in a thoroughly enforceable manner. There are many traps when drafting a will. I can help you avoid them.
Why Designating an Executor in Your Last Will and Testament?
Every Will should designate a personal representative, known as an executor, who will secure and administer your estate. Being an executor is a momentous undertaking. I can help ensure that your designee is not overwhelmed by the responsibility and discharges his or her responsibilities correctly. Or you can name me, your attorney, as executor, sparing your heirs the headache and heartache of bearing those responsibilities during a time of grief.
React to Changes and Rewrite Your Will
There is only one constant in life: change. Families grow. Loved ones die. Fortunes evolve. You can revoke your will at any time; replace it with a new one. Marriage, divorce, remarriage, birth or adoption of a child, relocation, purchase or sale of a business, death or estrangement of an heir, emergence of stepchildren, changes in the law – these are all reasons to reconsider your estate planning documents and decisions. Act now: You will have more room for maneuver as the inheritance law is being revised.
Act Now while You Retain Testamentary Capacity
If you do not have a Will, let me help you prepare one now. It is crucial that you do so while you retain testamentary capacity – namely, that you still understand the nature of your assets and the effect of a will on your estate. Working together, we can ensure you satisfy the formal requirements for a will, that it conveys your wishes properly, and that it is thorough. Do not leave your estate to chance. Let’s tackle your estate planning needs together. Today.