The Estate Planning attorneys at McMorrow Law, LLC can help you make an effective estate plan to protect and provide for your loved ones. What is a will? A Last Will and Testament is a legal document which is created by the testator and often drafted by an estate planning attorney to direct his or her executor how his estate will be handled. A will can provide instructions on how personal property is distributed (like artwork, family heirlooms, china, furniture, automobiles, collectibles, jewelry), what happens to the testator's real property upon death (does it go to the spouse, the children or is it to be sold?), and the rest of the testator's assets (bank accounts, cash, investment accounts, proceeds from the sale of other tangible property, retirement accounts without a beneficiary listed).
If you do not have a will when you die, your wishes may not be carried out the way you intended. Your family will have to probate your estate via the laws of intestacy (intestacy is dying without a will). For instance, you may have assumed your husband would automatically get your entire estate upon your death. However, if there are children of the marriage or from another marriage, your husband may not get everything. He may have to fight the children or step children for a fraction of the estate by taking his elective share (depending on the circumstances, he may only get one-third to one-half of the probate estate). Do not forget that children are taxed at a higher rate than a spouse for inheritance tax purposes, too.
At McMorrow Law, we provide a free consultation to discuss your estate planning goals. When working with our estate planning clients, we review the titling of assets, amount of the estate, and handling the what-ifs should a beneficiary predecease you. If you plan on giving a specific bequest or a residuary gift to a minor child or grandchild, we can draft a minor's trust so that child or grandchild will benefit from the funds their health, education, maintenance and support until they reach the age of majority without having access to it. We can also devise provisions for that minor child taking principal from their trust once they become an adult. If you have minor children, we will add a provision directing who you want to be the guardian of your minor child if you should die prior to that child becoming an adult.
You will have the option of picking a variety of fiduciaries to make the most important decisions after you are gone like an executor, a trustee and a guardian.
Although this is not a comprehensive list of the details that go into a Last Will and Testament, these are some of the important ones. Every person no matter how large or small your estate is, should have at least a basic will. Our founding attorney, Brooke McMorrow has drafted hundreds of estate plans for clients in the Greater Pittsburgh area from the very basic to the most sophisticated. If you are in need of a will review or need help in drafting a will, please call the Pittsburgh Estate Planning attorneys at 724-940-0100.