May 2015

I Want a Will, But I’m Short on Cash

The Importance of a Will and a Living Will

A living will and a will serve two different functions in the practice of law. A living will is an estate planning document that specifies what type of medical care you would like to receive if you are unable to make your wishes clear. A will serves as a way to distribute property and settles any debt that may still be current.

Finances can Affect Who Makes a Will or Living Will

Lack of funds is one of the most common reasons people give for not making a will or living will. They assume they will never be able to afford the attorney’s fees. Others claim that they don’t really need a will because they don’t own anything anyway.

The reality is that foregoing a living will or will can end up costing you far more down the road. Using an online service or a DIY fill-in-the-blank form can lead to costly litigation and significant expense for your loved ones after you pass away. With all this in mind, the question isn’t whether you can afford to make a will or a living will – it’s whether you can you afford not to?

The Cost of Dying without a Will or Living Will

If you pass away without a will, the court will use state intestacy laws to determine how your property should be distributed. It doesn’t matter what your wishes were; the court must follow the law, regardless of whether you would have approved of the result.

Furthermore, even people with comparatively few assets still need to partake in estate planning. What happens if you become incapacitated or too ill to handle your own financial and health care decisions? Without the right documents in place such as a living will, the court will appoint someone to make these decisions on your behalf – a result you may not have wanted and one that can quickly drain your estate’s assets.

Many people believe they are getting a “bargain” by using online legal services or DIY forms. In truth, most of these websites charge the same, if not more, as an experienced attorney at law. Your estate plan will affect the most important people and assets in your life. This is not a time for shortcuts.

Springfield, Missouri Estate Planning Law Firm

At the Law Offices of Randy L. Smith, LLC, we help people create estate planning documents such as a living will that provide peace of mind. Call today at (417) 841-2775 to speak to an experienced estate planning lawyer about your case.

This website has been prepared by The Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.