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You May Need an Attorney and Not Even Know It

People take legal matters into their own hands every day, and sometimes they lose money and property in the process. You can make a legally binding contract without using an attorney, but you are risking missing some big legal loopholes and laws you may not be familiar with that can not only make your contract invalid but can actually cost you in the end. When you are selling or purchasing real estate, tackling the creation of a will or even just loaning money to a friend, a consultation with an attorney can be a positive step. I'll show you when and why you need an attorney.



You May Need an Attorney and Not Even Know It

Benefits of an Explanatory Letter for a Will

by Barry Butler

If you are writing a will, you should also consider writing an explanatory letter to go with the will. The explanatory letter gives you the chance to leave information for your loved ones that you cannot include in the will. Here are some of the specific things an explanatory letter can help you with:

Offering Advice on Inheritance

The explanatory letter is a good forum for giving your loved ones advice on how to manage their inheritance. This is particularly true with assets with investment values or businesses. For example, if you have given your eldest child the family business, it might be a good idea to give them some pointers on how to manage the business for maximum profitability and returns. Or you can explain to your child what to do with your (and now their) vacation property to earn some money from it.

Explaining Your Gifts

You can also use the explanatory letter to explain your gifts to your loved ones so that everyone understands why they are getting what they are getting. For example, you can explain that you believe your eldest child has better business management skills than the others, and that is why they are getting the family business. Or you can explain why the family home is going to the youngest child by reminding the others that the youngest child has the biggest family among them all and they are currently living in cramped quarters.

Explaining Disparities in Inheritance

If you have made some "strange" decisions in your last will and testament, then the explanatory letter also gives you a medium to explain them to your beneficiaries. For example, it might be that you have disinherited a child, given a seemingly poor child less-than-expected gifts, or have left some of your properties to "outsiders." You don't have to explain yourself to your children or beneficiaries, but doing so will go a long way in calming them down and avoiding will contests.

Imparting Your Last Sentiments and Words of Wisdom

Another thing you can do on the explanatory letter is to impart the wisdom you have gathered in your life's experiences to your kids. As you know, these are things that you can't include in the last will and testament since it is reserved for things you are leaving to your loved ones. However, in the explanatory letter, you can even express your sentiments and feelings to your loved ones.

For more information about what information should and should not be included in your will, contact a will attorney.