Making and remaking your own will
The AARP discovered in a recent survey that 71 percent of Americans over 34, and 40 percent of Americans of the Baby Boomer generation, have yet to draw up a will. Imagine that you live in or somewhere near Gastonia, NC, and are reasonably well off and getting on in years. One day you experience some chest pains — not intense, but definitely worrying. You visit the doctor, and the chest pains turn out to be nothing, but the reminder of mortality inspires you to do something you have been putting off for a long time. You decide to make out your will.
Not wanting to spend any more time on this job than necessary, you try to find a shortcut. After a short search on the Internet, you find a site where you can download a will form and fill it out with your various assets and who you want them to go to. This is much easier than you thought it would be, but when you finish filling the form out it seems to be missing something. There are a few assets you could not include on it, because there was no place on the form to list them. So just to be on the safe side, you call an estate planning attorney.
This turns out to be a good thing. The estate planning attorney shows you that the form was made out in such a way that you accidentally listed a particularly valuable asset twice — and worse, willed it to a different person in each section. And there are those assets that were never mentioned on the form. You are going to have to make out your will all over again. Fortunately, your will is not considered to be officially recorded while you are still alive, so there was no real harm done.
This is going to mean a lot more effort, but it could have been worse. You might have left all this for your children to deal with. You have seen families break up in fights over inheritance, and you would never want to do that to your own family.
An estate planning attorney in Gastonia, NC
Your estate planning attorney can help you in other ways as well. He or she can help you draw up an irrevocable trust, which will remove assets from your estate while still allowing you to receive the income they produce. This will be important when you apply for Medicaid to go into a nursing home or assisted living center.
Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law. Call and make an appointment today.