A staple of popular fiction is the rich man who rewrites his will by hand at the last minute, excluding most of his presumed heirs and leaving the money to some person or organization the heirs have never heard of. Although this certainly creates dramatic tension, the heirs might still be in luck–not all states recognize handwritten wills.
You have probably given some thought to what happens to your assets once you are no longer among the living. The best thing you can do for your loved ones is to create a will, specifying exactly how your assets should be allocated. Even if you don’t have any loved ones, you can still write a will bequeathing your assets to a favorite charity or other organization.
But writing a will isn’t so easy as just jotting down a list and sticking it in a drawer. The laws vary by state. A simple trip to a lawyer who specializes in wills and trusts ensures your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. Consider it an investment in your peace of mind. The lawyer can also help you designate an executor/executrix for your estate and create a power of attorney form in case you become incapacitated.
You might also want to consider putting some of your assets in a trust, especially if you have children. A trust will allow you to spell out exactly how your assets will be managed. For example, you can put money in an investment account and say the income from the account can only be used towards your children’s education. You can also name the person who will be in charge of the account (i.e. a spouse or sibling). You can even create a trust to care for a pet. Again, this is worth the trip to the attorney to make sure you have the details right.
If you live in Maryland, the attorneys at Hillman, Brown and Darrow (http://www.hbdlaw.com/practice-areas/practice-areas-list.php) are here to help. With over 150 years’ combined experience, our attorneys will ensure your loved ones will be taken care of for years to come.