Most people often overlook the importance of having legal documents in order. According to statistics, 60 percent of Americans lack a will or legal estate plan. Some may think that they don’t need them or that they are unnecessary, but the truth is, legal documents are essential for everyone.
No one likes to think about their mortality, but it’s essential to have your legal affairs in order in case something happens to you.
Examples of Legal Documents
Different types of legal documents exist, depending on your circumstances.
A trust is a legal document outlining how you want your assets to be managed and distributed during your lifetime and after death. A trust can be revocable, which means that you can change the terms of the trust at any time.
A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your property and assets should be distributed after your death.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) is a statutory document that grants another person the right to act in your place. This can be useful if you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself.
An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to specify your wishes for medical treatment if you become incapacitated. This could include your wishes for life-sustaining treatment, organ donation, or pain management.
Reasons for Having Legal Documents in Order
There are many reasons to have your legal documents in order, regardless of age or circumstances.
To Protect Your Assets
Your assets are everything that you own and have acquired over your lifetime. They include your home, car, savings, retirement accounts, and personal possessions.
The court will allocate your possessions under your state’s intestate succession laws if you pass away without leaving a will or other legal documentation. Unfortunately, this means that your assets may not go to the people or charities that you intended.
To Make Things Easier for Your Loved Ones
If you have a will or other legal documents, your loved ones will know your wishes and will not have to go through the probate process to settle your estate. This can be a long and complicated process.
Having a will can help make things easier for your loved ones by spelling out your wishes and eliminating the need for them to go through probate.
To Avoid Disputes
Your family may fight over your assets if you don’t have a will or trust. This can cause lasting damage to relationships and lead to expensive legal battles.
To Ensure Your Wishes are Carried Out
If you have specific wishes for how your assets are distributed, it’s essential to make those wishes known. Otherwise, there’s no guarantee that they will be carried out.
This is especially true if you have young children; you should have a will to designate a guardian for them. Without a will, the court will decide who will care for your children if something happens to you.
To Save Money
Having a will or trust can save your loved ones money in the long run by avoiding expensive legal battles and taxes on your estate.
For Peace of Mind
Knowing that your affairs are in order can give you peace of mind. If you have a will or other legal documents, you can rest assured that your loved ones will be taken care of after you’re gone.
Having legal documents in order is essential to being prepared for the future. If you have a legal document, but it’s out of date, update it. If you’re unsure where to start, seek out the help of a qualified attorney.
If you’re looking for help getting your legal documents in order, look no further than Legal Document Assistants. Our team of paralegals can help you with everything from preparing and filing court documents to getting documents notarized. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
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