Why Do I Need A Last Will and Testament?

September 24, 2021

Estate Planning attorneys get asked, routinely, whether someone needs a Last Will and Testament, or even an estate plan at all. The answer is not always simple. Here, the experienced estate planning team at the Law Office of Andrew P. Gross, outline the many benefits of developing a last will and testament.

The Choice of Personal Representative

The Personal Representative often called a “PR” or referred to as an executor or executrix acts as a fiduciary and manages the affairs of the estate upon someone’s death. This person has to act in accordance with the deceased person’s wishes, as outlined in the Last Will and Testament. Maryland law provides that the person named in the Last Will and Testament has priority to be named as the Personal Representative, taking priority over all other parties. Depending on your personal family situation, you may not want your spouse or children acting as a Personal Representative, because either of age, maturity, or simply because you do not want to put that responsibility on them.

Choose how to Distribute Assets

Subject to certain statutory limitations, such as the Elective Share law and others, you may have in mind the best way to distribute your assets amongst your heirs. You may even want to leave assets to your favorite charities, or individuals/organizations outside of what Maryland law determines to be your lawful heirs. With a thorough estate plan, you have full control over the distribution of your assets after you pass away.

Leaving Assets to Children, With Fewer Hassles

If you have minor children or would like to see assets distributed to minor children, the best mechanism may be a trust. A Last Will and Testament can provide for a trust, managed by a trustee, to effectively manage the distribution of assets to minor children, or authorized that they are used in the best interests of minor children. You can even leave instructions that assets be held in trust beyond a child’s 18th birthday.

Appointing a Guardian for Minor Children

Again, if you have minor children, a Last Will and Testament can be used to let your wishes be known as to whom you would like to see look over your minor children.

Facilitate or Shorten the Probate Process

A Last Will and Testament and even the broader Estate Plan can shorten the probate process by outlining the plan for the distribution of assets. It can also make paying funeral expenses easier, as it can outline what you would like done with your remains.

Considerations for Blended Families

This is a big issue. Not all families look alike, and the term “children” can be defined to biological children or step-children, which is an important distinction.

Peace of Mind

This is really about items 1-6 above. Losing a loved one is hard, and having a roadmap of how the loved one wanted their estate managed can provide a sense of relief and make room for family and friends to actually grieve.

Contact Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer, Andrew P. Gross to Get Started

As such, most individuals should strongly consider developing a thorough Estate Plan, and should talk to an experienced estate planning attorney. Contact the Law Office of Andrew P. Gross to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney today.