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Critical Questions to Ask an Estate Attorney during Will Preparation

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Most people put off writing their will for the simple reason that they do not want to think of life beyond death. Despite this, wills and estate attorneys advise people to take their time and ensure they have a will in place, especially if they have a lot of property. Therefore, if you are planning on drawing a will, this article highlights key questions you should ask your estate attorney.    

Are Handwritten Changes on a Will Acceptable?

A will is a work in progress; therefore, one cannot say that their will is complete as long as they are still alive. For instance, if you recently found out that you have a child you didn't know about, you need to add the new beneficiary. Most people simply make the changes on a will with a pen. However, how valid are handwritten changes made to a will?  Due to the complexity of wills, written changes can raise a myriad of legal issues since the changes are open to interpretations. Therefore, if you want to make changes to your will, you can have your estate attorney draw up a new will or create a codicil. The latter is a short document stating the changes to be made and goes further to confirm the original will in the presence of a witness.   

What Happens to a Missing Beneficiary?

When drawing up a will, the attorney will ask you to name every beneficiary you can think of. Once you have done so, it is usually the work of the wills and estates lawyers or trustee to locate the named beneficiaries. However, what happens when the attorney cannot find a specific beneficiary even after talking to family and friends? In such a case, the attorney cannot just make assumptions and go ahead and execute the will as is. The estate attorney must attend a court session and seek for the missing beneficiary to be declared either dead — if there is evidence alluding to death — or an absentee. Only when a declaration is made can the attorney administer the estate.   

Should Trustees of Incapable Persons be Paid?

Estate trustees carry a great deal of responsibility, and it is especially the case if the client is incapacitated. As such, it only makes sense that the trustees are compensated for managing someone else's property. However, such a trustee must have been appointed when the client was still capable. If the client becomes incapable before appointing a trustee, the courts appoint a guardian who is also entitled to compensation per the prescribed fee set out under wills and estate laws.