A will allows you the opportunity to express your wishes as to the distribution of your property upon your death, thereby allowing you to establish care for your surviving spouse, children and grandchildren. Wills, along with trusts, are the primary means by which you may leave property to a person or entity other than a spouse or blood relative, such as a domestic partner, friend or a charity. If you die without a will (referred to as dying “intestate”), state law determines how your property is distributed, making decisions that might not reflect your intentions and desires. By executing a clear, legally sound will, you can include considerations for:
- Property — Real estate typically accounts for a sizeable portion of a person’s or couple’s estate, and a will typically contains specific provisions regarding your primary residence and other real estate.
- Financial assets – Financial assets of all types can be accounted for in wills. You can choose how the wealth you hold in bank accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement plans and other sources of value should be distributed among your beneficiaries.
- Child guardianship — Your will allows you to make contingency plans for the care of your minor children. This is especially crucial if you are a single parent, but couples should also consider whom they want to raise their children if both parents pass away. You can also make arrangements in your will for the care of your pets.
- Executor responsibilities — Your will provides instructions for who should be appointed to oversee the distribution of your property and making certain that your wishes are carried out as you intended.
Ray provides thorough and practical estate planning advice to clients from all walks of life, helping his clients create wills in which they can feel confident and secure. He also understands that it can feel very overwhelming to make plans for the property and assets one has accumulated over a lifetime, and how difficult it is to think about how one’s spouse, children and grandchildren should be cared for if the unthinkable happens. Ray assists clients with estates of all sizes and levels of complexity, creating clear and enforceable documents that accurately convey his clients’ intentions.