Estate Planning Attorney Ridgefield, CT

A common question our estate planning lawyer is asked is, Should I have a will? It is a good idea for nearly everyone to have a will so that their survivors are left with less confusion and stress, and a higher likelihood of avoiding probate. However, as our will lawyer may tell you, some people have even more reason to have a will or another form of estate planning, perhaps in conjunction with a will. Law firms offer quality legal guidance at affordable rates.


What is a will?


A will is a legal document that specifies the final wishes of an individual (often referred to as the decedent after they pass away). A will may include any or all of the following:

  • Identification of who will be the executor of the estate. The executor will be responsible for distributing the assets, submitting tax documents for the government, settling debts, handling legal issues with or without the help of an estate planning lawyer.
  • The assets that each heir should inherit from the decedent’s estate, and how the remaining assets should be dealt with. If they are sold, the executor is legally mandated to follow the instructions of the will in terms of who should receive what percentage of the liquidized assets.
  • Identification of the guardian(s) for the decedent’s minor children.
  • Other issues, such as who should take care of which of the decedent’s pets.


What is probate?


Probate is a legal process that each state oversees when an estate is settled. However, there are methods for avoiding probate, which is preferable because probate can delay the settlement process and increase the costs involved. With the help of our estate planning lawyer, you can leverage various tools to assure that your heirs will not have to undergo probate. Another reason to avoid probate is that it’s a public process which means that anything an heir inherits will be available as public information.


What are the reasons for making a will?


Choosing whether or not to make a will is ultimately a personal decision. That said, depending on how you want to distribute your assets and sentimental items, if you leave behind clear and legally binding instructions via estate planning, you can gain peace of mind that your final wishes will be honored. Here are some of the other reasons why it may be beneficial for you to write a will:

  • Minimize the tax obligations of your heirs when they inherit your assets. Your estate planning lawyer can guide you through this process.
  • Clarify who you want to inherit which of your personal items and assets, and the reasons for your decisions. This is also an opportunity to explain why a certain person is not included in your will, if you wish to leave them out. By explaining why you have come to this decision, it weakens their case should they decide to contest the will.
  • Avoid probate, particularly if you take advantage of additional estate planning tools, with the help of your estate planning attorney Ridgefield, CT offers at Sweeney Legal, LLC.