A will is defined as a legal declaration that disposes of a person’s property when that person dies. A well-written will can transfer property quickly, avoiding complicated tax concerns. An easy transition is very helpful to the survivors of the deceased who must handle the distribution of the possessions. The size of an estate will, in most cases, determine the size of a will. A will describes the estate and details which individual will receive specific property. These individuals are referred to as devisees. In many cases a will provides more defined instructions, including care for surviving children or the formation of posthumous trusts. A simple will provides only for the outright distribution of assets for a very straightforward estate. A pour-over will leaves some assets in a preexisting trust. A testamentary trust wills set up one or more trusts for a portion of your estate assets to go to after you die. A joint will is one document that covers two people, usually a husband and wife. Holographic wills are unwitnessed will documents written in the testator’s own handwriting. Only about 20 states recognize this type of will. The creator of a will must be 18 years or older, though some states allow persons under the age of 18 to form a will if they’re married, in the military or otherwise emancipated. The creator of a will must be of sound mind. Being of sound mind includes knowing what a will is and that you’re creating one, understanding the relationship between yourself and the individuals, if any, that you’ll provide for, having an understanding of what possessions you own, being capable of deciding how you want to distribute your property. And some states allow handwritten wills — but, again, it’s highly recommended that a will be typed or printed. An executor must have been appointed to oversee the distribution of property. If an executor has not been appointed, a court will appoint one for you. The document must also clearly state that it is a will, and it must contain at least one substantive provision. A will must be dated and signed in the presence of two witnesses to a will, and the witnesses may not be named to receive anything from that particular will. At some point in time you may need to update the details of a will. Many factors play a role in this decision. You may have been through a divorce or a marriage, persons named in your will may have passed away, or children named may have reached the age of 18. It’s recommended that you review your will, or any other estate planning documents, every five years. An estate planning attorney or an attorney who specializes in wills, trusts or probate can assist you in preparing these documents.
Categories: Other Law Areas, Estates, Wills & Trusts