By On Sep 04, 2019 Templates
Most people who seek to create a will have simple estates. The average person has a home, a spouse, some bank accounts, a vehicle, some investments, and some valuable personal property. There is nothing complex or confusing. In fact, a lot of that property is probably already set up to pass without a will (a home owned as tenants by the entirety or investment accounts owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship pass without a will just by the way they are owned). If you do not complete a will, the rest of your assets are distributed according to your states intestacy law (the law that governs what happens to property that is not protected by a will or other estate plan), so it makes sense to take a few minutes to fill out a form that clarifies your wishes. If you just want to be sure all of your property gets left to your spouse or your children or grandchildren (or if you have specific items you want to give to specific people, such as jewelry or meaningful mementos), a free last will and testament is an easy way to accomplish that. The smaller your estate, the easier the case becomes for using a will template. Free will templates allow you to choose an executor who will manage your estate, as well as a guardian if you have any minor children. Writing a will template allows you to cover every single important issue that needs to be addressed to provide complete peace of mind in most situations.
Many business owners choose to form an LLC because they are unfamiliar with the many legal nuances between different entity choices, and they simply assume that an LLC offers the most protection from risk because it has limited liability in its name. In reality, a properly formed and operated LLC does indeed limit the personal liability of the owners, as much as U.S. law allows, by affording the owners no personal risk above and beyond their investment in the company-but, in many instances, so do corporations and certain partnerships. Of course if a small business owner of any entity form fails to respect the separate and distinct identity of the business or observe statutorily required corporate formalities (such as co-mingling personal and business funds, paying owners instead of creditors, or failing to maintain a registered agent), the integrity of the corporate shield provided by law will be compromised and potentially expose the owners to personal liability. Generally speaking, though, the basic requirements to operate an LLC within the confines of the corporate statutes are not particularly onerous.
While it is true that the majority of middle class Americans can easily use a last will and testament form, there are some situations in which it makes sense to talk to an attorney about your situation to make sure you are doing everything necessary to protect and preserve your assets, reduce your estate tax, and ensure your wishes will be carried out. If you have a large estate (over $5.43 million, the federal estate tax exemption) or larger than the exemption your state allows for its estate or inheritance tax, it is important to do estate planning with an attorney who can help you reduce your estate tax. You may need trusts of various kinds and you might want to plan lifetime gifts to protect your assets. If you are married and would like to disinherit your spouse in your will, you should meet with an attorney instead of using a last will and testament free template. It is difficult to disinherit a spouse in a will (most states give the spouse a right of election, allowing them to collect a set percentage of the estate no matter what the will says), but an attorney can help you use other planning methods to accomplish your wishes. If you are in a situation where you think some of your relatives might try to contest your will, or if you think someone might try to say you were not of sound mind when you signed your will, you should see an attorney instead of relying on a last will template. These can be very complex situations. Other situations when it pays to get legal advice include if you own part of a small business, you have already created a living trust or want to create a living trust, or if you have a disabled child. In these situations you may want an attorney to help you create a plan that can not be challenged. In most situations, a will template is an easy and inexpensive way to make sure your wishes are known and carried out. Most people can get everything they need by using a will template, with little cost or hassle. If you are ready to create an estate plan but you are not sure which estate planning documents you need, our estate planning tool can help you decide. Simply answer a few questions and we will recommend the estate planning documents that are best for your specific situation. Once you determine which estate planning documents you need, our estate planning bundle can help you save money by allowing you to purchase multiple documents for one low price.
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