The Elrod Firm


What Do I Need Besides a Will?

Justin, When our children were young, my wife and I set up basic wills to make sure they were taken care of if anything happened to us.  Now that they (and we) are older, I think there may be a lot more we should do to make sure our things are in order.  Can you help?  – Bill

Bill, One of the most useful things a will can do for a family is to identify who should take over as guardian for young children if anything happens to the parents.  I’m glad to hear you took care of that back when it could have been a big issue for you and your wife.

But now, you’re exactly right, there’s a lot more to think about.  The first thing to note is that your wills won’t keep your estate out of probate court.  You’ll need to look into a trust for that.  The second thing you may have previously overlooked is the need for power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney documents.  These are important issues for everyone, but they become more essential as you get older.

In 2017, I wrote a book about estate planning that gets into these topics in much more detail—it became an Amazon best seller in its category in its first week.  An updated second edition was released earlier this year.  It’s called You Need A Plan, and instead of paying full price on Amazon, you can order a free copy on my website,  We just ask that you help with shipping and handling when you order.

When you are ready to get your affairs in order, the best thing to do is to schedule a planning session with one of the attorneys at my firm—we do these at no charge, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at all the information we share in these meetings.  But if you want to learn more on your own before a meeting like that, my book is the best place to start.

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