Wills are the kind of document that is needed to express final wishes regarding how your estate should be settled. A lot of people underestimate the importance of writing a Will and fail to realize the hardships not having one puts on loved ones.
Wills supply details about the kinds of estate planning methods decedents took part in prior to death. They are necessary for appointing estate agents to take care of details pertaining to estate settlement. Wills also provide a list of inheritance property and names of the beneficiaries who will receive gifts.
All estates have to be settled via the probate process unless assets have been transferred into a trust or the estate is exempt because it has minimal value. Exemption amounts differ in each state, but normally fall in the range of $25,000 to $50,000. The only way small estates are exempt is if a last Will is presented to the probate office.
Another important factor covered in Wills is bequeathing property to minor children. Directives are included that state how the assets have to be safeguarded until children reach legal age, as well as the person responsible for protecting those assets.
Parents of minor children or legal guardians of adults need to utilize Wills to establish guardianship rights. Otherwise, relatives will have to hire a lawyer and appear in court to obtain legal guardianship.
Writing a Will isn’t difficult, but it is important to find out which kind best suits your personal circumstances. Married couples with minor age children have different needs than married couples without children. Life partners have different needs than single people.
While there are different styles of Wills, they each include similar elements. All are used to designate estate agents; make arrangements for legal guardianship, and assign beneficiaries to receive financial assets and personal belongings.
In the past, people included burial directions in their last will and testament. Today, this practice is rarely used because Wills usually aren’t read for several days or weeks after burial services.
Individuals that have purchased burial plots or have specific wishes about the kind of funeral they want ought to put details in writing and provide documents to family members or friends. Be certain to include the location of life insurance policies so that paperwork can be filed promptly by the funeral home.
It’s common practice for people to hire lawyers to draft their last Will. While it is a good idea to work with an attorney, people can create their own document by downloading preformatted templates from the Internet or purchasing do-it-yourself Will kits. Another option is to prepare documents online using services like LegalZoom.
No matter how the Will is drafted, in order for it to be legal it has to be signed by two individuals that aren’t related to the Will writer and validated by a notary public. If questions arise about the validity of the document, witnesses and notaries may have to testify in court.
Wills should be updated any time major changes occur. These could include the sale or purchase of real estate; birth or adoption of a child; death of a previously designated estate agent; liquidation of valuable property or financial investments; or marriage, divorce, or death of a spouse.