Most people know basically what a will is and what it does, but that's about it. Despite the fact that they know it's important to have one, there's a lot that people simply don't understand about having a will. If you're considering writing a will, or you have one already, here's a look at some of the most common misconceptions you may encounter, and the real truth behind them.
Misconception #1: If someone passes away without a will, everything goes to the state
This misunderstanding has probably been popularized by television and movies, because it's a pretty common belief. It is important to have a will, but not having one doesn't mean everything will go to the government. The specific laws vary from state to state, but in most cases, your assets are divided among your spouse and children. But it's important to have a will to make sure your assets go to the specific people you want them to. About the only time when assets would go to the state would be if no surviving family members can be found.
Misconception #2: A will can take years to resolve
While an estate can occasionally take years to resolve, that's certainly not the norm. Usually, the biggest delay comes from the time period set by the government for creditors to file a claim. Other things than can drag out the process are family squabbles, if an estate is very large, or if an estate has ongoing income (but that's usually only applicable to celebrities like musical artists). Avoiding probate is the best way to speed up the process.
Misconception #3: A "last will" is final
Despite the name "last will" sounding pretty final, there's a reason this is known as a "living document." It can be updated, changed, or added to at any time. A will isn't permanent. In fact, it's encouraged to update your will. People get married and separated, children are born and people pass away, and assets are gained and lost. Your will should be just as fluid as your life. Most legal experts recommend updating your will once a year. To help you remember, try to do it around your birthday.
Preparing a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family, but over half of Americans don't have one. If you don't have one, contacting a local attorney like Patricia L Riddick PLLC Atty is a great place to start. They've likely dealt with hundreds of people in your situation, and know how to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
When I was younger, I had a hard time following the rules. I got in with a bad group of friends, and I found myself in juvenile detention more than a few times. When I was sixteen, a teacher sat me down and explained where my life was leading. That teacher was the first person that believed in me, and I decided not to let him down. That day, I decided to change my life, and I did. Because of his sound advice, I was able to finish high school, get into a great college, and become a criminal attorney. I understand the uphill battle that troubled youth face, and I want to use this website to teach other people what they need to do to turn things around.