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The Importance of Planning Ahead with Writing Your Will

Failing to write a legally enforceable will can drastically impact what will happen with your assets upon your passing. Read more to understand what this central document determines and how our experienced Des Moines wills lawyer from Herting Law, PLLC, can assist you in navigating the estate planning process.

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Why do I need to draft a will?

Drafting a will guarantees that your wishes are fulfilled when you pass.

That is, the following actions can be completed by creating a will:

  • Nominate a person to serve as a guardian for any of your minor children.
  • Establish a trust to defer distributions of your property to minors.
  • Nominate a person to be the executor of your estate.
  • Avoid additional expenses to the estate by streamlining the administration of your estate.
  • Distribute your estate in a manner that can generate substantial tax savings, which would not be possible if your estate was distributed according to Iowa’s probate law.
  • Direct the responsibility for payment of taxes by the estate before it is distributed.

What happens if I die without writing a will?

If you do not create a will before you pass, you will not have appointed an executor to handle your estate matters and ensure your assets are distributed as you would have intended.

Then, the court will have to appoint an administrator to manage this, and the following actions may occur:

  • Your property will transfer through joint ownership, a trust, or designation, then your remaining property, called your probate estate, automatically becomes subject to the probate laws.
  • When married: your spouse will receive all of your property if you have no children.
  • No spouse: all of your property will go to your children in equal shares.
  • If a child has died, that child’s children will share the child’s share, and so on down the line.
  • No descendants: your estate goes to your parents.
  • If you have no living parents, then the estate goes to your parent’s closest descendants
  • If there are no such relatives, then the estate goes to your grandparents and down from there.

If you’re ready to get started or you have any additional questions about estate planning in Iowa, please don’t hesitate to speak with an experienced Des Moines estate planning lawyer today.

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Herting Law, PLLC, is an Iowa-based law firm designed to help with all of your legal needs. Contact Herting Law, PLLC today for help.

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