I often hear clients say they do not need a Last Will and Testament because they intend to "avoid probate" or because they do not currently have any assets to distribute. However, both of these types of individuals could still benefit from having a Will. Why? Because probate avoidance measures are imperfect, and a person may unexpectedly receive assets before their death.
For instance, a client may plan to avoid probate by deeding their real property to their children while the client is alive. However, the client may inherit additional real property after those initial estate planning measures and either forget to deed it to the children or lack the capacity to do so. Therefore, the real property ends up passing through probate and the client would be better off to have a Will in place to simplify the probate process and ensure his or her intent is carried out.
What about a client without any assets? Why would they need a Will? We cannot predict the future, and it is possible such a client may receive assets through inheritance, litigation or some other unexpected source. For example, the individual may be seriously injured in a car accident and receive insurance proceeds but no longer have the ability to execute a Will. Even though that injured person may not have had any significant assets prior to the accident, he or she would have benefited from having a Will in place setting out their wishes for any assets they may have upon their death.
No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. This material is for informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as a legal opinion or legal advice regarding any specific issue or factual circumstance. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of this material without seeking legal advice.