will with pen and glasses

Wills Lawyer Des Moines, IA

When you are interested in protecting your legacy and estate on behalf of those who will inherit your assets, it may be in your best interest to consult a wills lawyer in Des Moines, IA. At The Law Group of Iowa, we help people to plan their estate in a way that is practical and affordable, while safeguarded it from creditors and others who might not have the estates’ best interest in mind. Without planning your estate, which typically begins with a will, your heirs or beneficiaries will almost certainly have to go through the probate process. This can take months, even years, and burden them with high fees that could have been avoided. If you do not wish them to go through a similar situation, consider calling a Des Moines, IA wills lawyer now. 

The Basic Estate-Related Terms You Should Know 

Many people have a very basic understanding of what a will, estate, or trust is; however, it is equally common for people to be confused about what these terms actually mean. As a wills lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa, we would like to explain some of these terms so that you can proceed with your estate planning in a way that is well informed and accurate. If you have any further questions, you can call a wills lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa. 

A Will

A will is a legal document that contains instructions written by the drafter of the will that will dictate how their assets should be distributed after they die. Wills also might include things like who should take care of their pet, whether they are to be buried or cremated, or other special requests. As a Des Moines, IA wills lawyer might explain to you, it is technically possible to draft your own will; however, if there are any errors, it may be easier to contest the legal document in court. Errors could include the usage, or lack thereof, of certain language or punctuation, or failing to have a witness sign the will. 

The Probate Process

Probate is a legal process that most estates must go through after the testator (creator of the will) dies. If there is no will or any other legal documents for the estate, probate is absolutely necessary. The exception to this may be when a trust exists or the estate is worth less than a certain amount (usually $50,000). Probate is court ordered and will be overseen by a judge who will make important decisions about the estate. If there is no will in place, the judge will decide who will get what. This can be avoided by talking with a wills lawyer in Des Moines, IA about estate planning. 

Property That May Have to Pass Through Probate

Once a wills lawyer in Des Moines, IA reviews your case, you will have a better understanding of what assets will need to pass through probate. In general, any property, such as a house, that does not name an heir will have to be probated. Examples of assets that will need to be probated include:

  • Houses
  • Property
  • Vehicles
  • Boats
  • Stocks
  • Bonds

Any financial account that doesn’t name a designated beneficiary

You can avoid the probate process by drafting a trust. On the other hand, you can make the probate process easier with a sound will. To learn more about your options, call a wills lawyer in Des Moines, IA today.