5 Reasons You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer

Posted by: Copenhaver, Ellet & Derrico

It can be difficult to think about what will happen when you pass away; however, it is necessary to establish a plan so that your wishes are carried out after you are no longer here. By working with an estate planning lawyer, you can determine what will happen to your belongings, property, and finances. You can prepare for the care of your children and provide for your loved ones. Without an Roanoke estate planning attorney, your wishes may not be followed.

The skilled attorney at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico have extensive experience working with clients who have estate planning and administration needs. We can help you prepare your estate for what may come in the future. Call us today at (540) 655-1854 for a consultation to find out how we can help you.

Why You Should Plan Your Estate in Virginia

In Virginia, if you die without a will and other estate planning documents, you have passed away “intestate.” That means all of your money, property, and other belongings will pass to your family and dependents according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. A Commissioner of Accounts will likely oversee this process.

The problem with dying intestate is that your property will not be distributed according to your wishes. Your spouse and children may receive your assets; however, family, friends, charitable organizations, and others, will not receive anything. Read below to find out more about why you need an estate planning lawyer.

1. You need to plan for your family’s future.

One of the primary reasons you need to work with an estate planning lawyer is to make sure your assets will provide for your family’s future. You may want to provide financial support for your children, grandchildren, or someone in your family with special needs. Those provisions often require trusts or special accounts to secure funds. You should work with an estate planning attorney to make sure your estate planning documents and accounts will provide what your loved ones need after you pass away.

Believe it or not, in Virginia, you can effectively “will” your children if something happens to their parents. In your will, you can state who your children’s guardian should be. This decision will not be overturned unless there is something seriously wrong with your choice (they became a drug addict etc.). You can have a sibling over parents or even a close friend over family. Even if you have little or no assets, this decision can be the most important of your, and your children’s, life.

2. You need to plan charitable donations.

Many people want some of their lifetime earnings to go to a charitable organization after they die. However, it can be difficult for an estate administrator to know exactly how much and to which organizations you wish to donate. By leaving specific instructions through estate planning documents, you can ensure your wishes will be carried out.

3. You own real property.

If you own a home or other real property, it can be difficult to split its value after your death. Family members and your estate administrator may be unsure of what you want to do with your property. Through careful estate planning, you can establish legal documents that detail your wishes regarding your real property.

4. You want to leave specific belongings to people.

If there are people you want to leave specific belongings to, then you should have a detailed will and other estate planning documents to ensure your estate administrator is aware of your wishes. If you die without a will or intestate, then your spouse and children may get everything. However, even in that situation, it is difficult to divvy up the value of your personal belongings. Instead, you should work with an estate planning lawyer to name specific people who should receive items that you accumulated during your lifetime.

5. You want to avoid challenges to your estate.

You may want to give all your assets to one person or spread them out amongst family and friends. However, you wish to distribute the assets you accumulated throughout your life, you should make an estate plan that clearly details those desires. If you leave anything to question, your family and dependents may challenge your will or other documents. Instead, work with an estate planning attorney who will draft clear and valid legal documents that convey what should be done with your possessions.

Contact Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico for Your Estate Planning

If you are ready to establish a plan that will endure past your lifetime, then you should contact an estate planning lawyer who can walk you through the process of developing legal documents that are necessary. Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico works extensively with clients who have both large and small estates. We can help you develop a will, establish trusts, and create other necessary estate planning documents and accounts. Call us today at (540) 655-1854 for more information about our services.