Wills: Your Top 3 Questions, Answered
A lot of people understand the importance of having a last will. Will and estate lawyers recommend basic estate planning, however, there are some misconceptions about how estate planning documents and wills work.
Don’t let unfamiliarity hold you back from planning your estate properly. Let us go over the top 3 frequently asked questions and their answers so you’ll be better acquainted with the process.
What happens if I die without a will?
If a person doesn’t use a legal method such as a will to transfer their property upon death, the person’s assets and properties (also referred to as ‘probate estate’) will be passed through the courts for distribution. Simply, put, the law will decide how your estate is distributed. The laws of each state vary, but generally, the state will attempt to identify any living relatives and pass the estate to them.
Passing on without a will means you have no control over who inherits from you. Your loved ones may also find it costly and time-consuming to deal with your estate.
Do I need the help of a will and estate lawyer to make my will to make it legal?
There are a few technical requirements a will must fulfill.
- You must date and sign it.
- Your will must be signed by two witnesses. In most states, these are people who won’t inherit anything under the will. They must be present during the signing of the will, although they are not required to read its contents.
It is not really necessary to have the will notarized. However, if you and your witnesses sign a sworn statement (also known as an affidavit) before a notary public, it will help simplify the court procedures needed to prove the validity of the will.
Anyone can write a last will. Creating a will doesn’t typically involve complex legal rules, but if your situation is unusual, or your questions aren’t answered by the resources you are relying on, then it may be worth to see a good lawyer.
What about executors?
An executor is a person appointed by the person who made the will to carry out the terms, wishes, or instructions specified in the will. To settle your estate, the executor might need a document called a ‘Grant of Letters’ probate to settle your estate.
It is important that your executor is a reliable adult. Some people ask a family member or a close friend to be their executor. Some appoint a lawyer or a private trust company to be their executor.
Choose someone who has a good working knowledge of financial matters, because being an executor entails a lot of hard work. This person should also be comfortable in dealing with government officials.
Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced will and estate lawyers at Exemplify Financial.