Estate Planning Lawyer
In the movies, very wealthy people sometimes create a video to describe their wishes regarding the distribution of their estate when they die. While these videos certainly have a dramatic flair about them, they can raise a whole host of issues when they reach probate court. As an estate planning lawyer from a firm like W.B. Moore Law can explain, here are a few reasons video wills cannot stand on their own and what other options you have when it comes to estate planning.
Will and Testament Basics
Your final will and testament serve a couple of purposes. First, your will may name a guardian for your children if they are minors when you die. You can even describe the manner in which you wish them to be raised and whom you would like to care for family pets.
Second, your will should list all of your major assets, identifying how you would like each to be distributed. These assets include bank accounts, life insurance policies, stocks, real estate properties, jewelry, antiques, cars, and much more.
Notably, your will is just one component of many that should be included in your estate plan. Plans often address issues such as durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney, as well.
The Problem With Videos
When a person dies, his or her will is reviewed by a probate court. This court is responsible for interpreting the deceased’s wishes and ensuring they are carried out properly. Unfortunately, the probate process can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if a friend or family member contests the will.
The main reason that videos do not work well as the sole documentation of your final wishes is that videos aren’t very official. Wills should be thorough, use proper legal language, and be signed by two witnesses. As even the most detailed, professional wills can sometimes lead to family discord, videos are certain to be problematic.
Estate Planning Tips
If leaving a video for your family members is important to you, don’t worry! You can still include a video in your estate plan as long as it is supplemented by all the necessary official documents. At times, videos can actually be helpful to probate courts by demonstrating that the contents of your will are genuine.
As you plan your estate, be sure to consult an estate planning lawyer as early in the process as possible. These legal professionals may be able to point out additional money management strategies, such as living trusts, that could benefit your estate and your family.