Many people have a general grasp of how estate planning works in Virginia, but there are numerous details under state law that you may not fully understand. Only an experienced attorney can advise you on some of the intricacies of executing an estate plan, and you may be surprised to find that there are issues that are more complex than you thought. This True-False quiz can help you test your knowledge but consult with an estate planning lawyer to discuss your specific circumstances.
I can pass certain assets without a will: TRUE
Property held jointly with another person passes to the other owner when a person dies, so this is a way of transferring an asset without a will. Examples would be a jointly held bank account or real property held with survivorship rights. You can also pass some types of accounts by designating a pay-on-death beneficiary, who receives the asset when you die. Certain types of trust can also be used to transfer assets without a will.
I’m too poor to need a will: FALSE
Even a person who owns minimal assets can benefit from a will because it makes things easier for the loved ones you leave behind. A will can be used to designate a person as personal representative to transfer property to beneficiaries, instead of having a court do it. Plus, a will can be used to excuse the requirement of a fiduciary bond, which costs money.
It’s best to hire a qualified attorney for estate planning: TRUE
You may see ads for software that allows you to create a will and other documents in an estate plan, including powers of attorney and trusts. However, these technology solutions tend to be a “one size fits all” that doesn’t take into account the personal needs of you and your loved ones. An experienced estate attorney will customize an estate plan that suits your specific circumstances.
Complex estate planning isn’t worth the money: FALSE
Crafting a comprehensive estate plan can be complicated in certain situations where there are considerable assets, a large group of beneficiaries, or family members with special needs. The process can be more expensive because it requires the assistance of a qualified attorney. Still, if you don’t invest in legal help up front, you could be looking at the extremely high costs of litigation if there are mistakes or other issues with the estate plan.
Talk to a Qualified Virginia Estate Planning Lawyer
Even if you did answer correctly to the above items, there are still many other estate planning issues that you may not understand unless you have a legal background. The experienced attorneys at Shannon & Associates, P.C. have the education and background to assist you with your planning needs and can offer advice on your options. For more information on wills and estate planning, please visit our website or call us at (757) 228-5529.