Three Things You (Probably) Don't Know About Estate Planning

Posted on: 10 October 2019


Planning your will is a smart move no matter how old you are. Having a well-crafted will can help to make sure that your final wishes are carried out in a way that you are comfortable with, and it can help your survivors deal with the experience in a way that is easier and less stressful. Despite these benefits, many people put off creating their will or go into the process with unrealistic expectations. If you are ready to begin this journey, then arming yourself with knowledge is a great way to start. This article will help to set you on your way by explaining three little known facts and misconceptions about estate planning.

Probate Is Largely Unavoidable

Many people believe that they can spare their families the trouble of probate court by constructing a will. Unfortunately, this is a misconception that stems from a misunderstanding of what probate court is and how it functions. The goal of the probate process is to distribute your assets according to your wishes while also paying all debts inasmuch is as possible. Your will is not separate from the process, but rather the document that guides it. In essence, your will is the playbook that your executor will use to carry out your wishes.

You Can't Fully Cut People Out

The vengeful billionaire that cuts off unwanted children or hated spouses is a universal media trope, but the reality is significantly more complicated. When you are constructing your will, you are allowed to determine how your assets will be distributed. The family members that you choose to disinherit can challenge your will in court, however, and this is a fight that you are not guaranteed to win from the great beyond. If you genuinely wish to disinherit someone, it often has to be done carefully and with the knowledge that your decision may not hold up in court.

You Can Get Pretty Weird

By now, you may be feeling that your will doesn't give you nearly as much control as you were hoping. Fortunately, this isn't the case. There have, in fact, been some exceptionally odd wills produced over the years. Your will is one of the final documents that will survive you, so there is no harm in allowing your sense of humor or other quirks to escape the grave. As with disinheritance, it is worth keeping in mind that beneficiaries can choose to challenge your will in court. The potential for a challenge means that you should express unusual wishes carefully, but it does not mean that they must be left out.

Hopefully you can see that, while incredibly important, a will still has limitations. Working with an attorney to help draft your will can be an excellent way to remove ambiguities and ultimately ease any difficulties your survivors may face. Likewise, a skilled probate attorney will likely still be required after your passing to help your family members fully carry out your wishes (no matter how strange). Contact a company like the Law Offices of Wayne A. Pederson in order to learn more.