The very concept of ownership is one that is unique to the human race; we are the only creatures that ascribe significance onto a thing through definite possession. The ancient Egyptians viewed the afterlife as a continuation of their earthly lives, so it made sense to bury their possessions — both living and inanimate. There are few who continue this practice today, as wills and inheritances keep possessions where the deceased had designated — in fact, having a will could spare your family from financial and emotional distress.
The Need for Will Lawyers
A will acts as a listing of the deceased’s possessions and their intentions for those possessions. Without a will there is no guarantee that those possessions will stay with a family; some families are torn apart based on the lack of a will as relatives fight one another for cars, estates, and other possessions left behind. In 2000 there were just 47% of seniors who had living wills; in 2010 that number leapt up to 72% of seniors.
Powers of Attorney
In the case of the unthinkable, there is no universal answer for life-and-death situations. Designating a power of attorney who you trust helps to ensure that your life and your assets are in capable hands should you be determined unfit to make legal and financial decisions. The MetLife Mature Market Institute found that power of attorney abuse in 2009 lead to financial losses reaching $2.6 billion — make sure that you designate a trusted, capable person to ensure that your assets remain in good hands.
Estate Planning Attorneys
Since one’s estate is generally their most valuable possession, it makes sense that many want to keep it in the family if they can. Having an attorney who is familiar with general business law can help many find ideal estate planning options for their possessions. General business lawyers advise those with assets higher than six figures to have a trust in addition to their will in order to better minimize estate taxes and avoid probate. In addition, this year sees the introduction of bequests that can be gifted to individuals upon death that value up to $5.43 million — this money is 100% tax free. While we might not be able to take our possessions with us, legal professionals are able to help us keep our stuff where it belongs.