Last will and testamentThis is our next post in our series discussing why residents of Dallas, Texas need a will. Our last article discussed what an asset is and how they can be divided in a will. When families begin to list their assets, they frequently find that it is a longer and more complex process than they thought and they need an attorney to help them divide their assets properly. In this post we will discuss how a will can become the peacemaker in your family.

Passing away in Texas, without a will, is likely to lead to fighting amongst one’s heirs

Dallas residents are often conflicted when choosing how to divide their assets among their heirs, fearing that they will be disappointed or surprised and upset. While that is a rational fear, it is small in comparison to the endless fighting that can (and does) occur within families when no will, or an overly simplistic will, is written. We have, quite literally, seen families fight over not just money but also pots and pans!

It is important not only to have a will, but a detailed, comprehensive will

Leaving a thorough, detailed will can help prevent a long and expensive legal battle. If your heirs are left to divide up your possessions between themselves, then it is highly likely their disagreements will escalate into a war involving lawyers for each party and an expensive court battle. When that occurs, the only people guaranteed to profit are the attorneys. While paying attorneys to prepare a will costs money, it is much less than the amount spent in court fighting over the lack of a will or a poorly done will such as an online form will.

Dallas residents can avoid messy and painful legal battles by leaving an appropriate will

Leaving a detailed will indicates to your family that you put substantial time and effort into your plan and into deciding who receives what and how much. With a simple will in which even percentages of an estate are left to the heirs, there is great potential for families to bicker over individual possessions. In the midst of their grief, fiercely emotional battles are fought over furniture, sentimental items, family heirlooms, jewelry, even cook ware. In this situation, ambiguity leads to conflict, whereas a detailed will does a better job of reducing potential fighting.

Often when families fight over inheritance, they may win the “war”, but also lose irreplaceable family relationships in the process. It is worth your time, investment and attention now to honor your family by writing an appropriate will so that they are able to move through their grief and strengthen as a family, instead of tearing apart the family you leave behind. It’s easy to see inheritance as a black and white issue, but, in reality families are sensitive and inheritance is often seen as a reward or reprimand instead of a simple allocation of assets. You can choose to leave your family a legacy or a war.

In our next blog post we will discuss how having a will can significantly affect your minor children.

The Johnson Firm can help you decide how best to implement your plan and carry out your intent on dividing your assets now so that your family is not involved in a long, contentious, and expensive legal process later.