Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
A General Overview of Written Wills
If you are worried about the future of your assets after you are no longer alive, you may consider a will as part of your estate plan. Many people use wills to provide a written preference in regard to how they would want their estate to be treated or handled after their passing. Additionally, many also use wills to express any sentiment toward the individuals who will be reading the will. If a will is well-written and processed correctly, it can help the survivors through the transition after the death has occurred. Further, it can also help them to transfer the property in a fast manner along with avoiding tax-related issues.
While a will can have many advantages, it is important to understand your will could be incorrect or invalid. In this worst-case scenario, your will can actually hurt your loved ones instead of helping them after your passing.
While it can be difficult to discuss any person’s mortality, many people find that drafting a will helps them and gives them peace of mind. Wills allow people to put their concerns in order and ultimately allows them to feel better about any foreseeable or unforeseeable event that could happen.
Wills: The Basics
A will does not have an exact or perfect layout for it to be considered valid. Some wills can be valid by simply being a single page. Others are much more elaborate: they are extremely detailed, with as many pages as a book. When drafting a will, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice and support of an estate planning attorney who has experience in will drafting. While there are many templates you can find online, an experienced attorney will be aware of your state's laws concerning wills and can make sure that everything is filled out correctly. Every state will have different rules and regulations concerning wills, which could include, but are not limited to the following:
- The amount of pages
- The person who is allowed to draft the will, also known as the testator
- Witnessing vs notary
- Standard required language for validity
A will can include various aspects about your life. It can describe your entire estate, the names of the individuals who will be receiving any form of property or possession, special guidelines concerning the care of underage children, the care of pets, and even information concerning your desire for charity giving. Another useful way that a will can be used is to disinherit individuals who may expect to receive any of your possessions.
To make sure your will accomplishes all of your goals, speak to a qualified estate planning attorney who can ensure that it is experienced in your specific state. If not, the attorney can help you figure out in what other way you may be able to include those specific clauses. Speaking to a qualified attorney can ultimately help to ensure that your will is effective and valid.
Special Requirements for Wills
- As previously mentioned, every state will have its own rules and regulations concerning wills. This will include state-specific requirements. The following is a limited list of a few requirements that may be necessary:
- Wills must be in written form
- Wills must be drafted by the person requesting the will
- The will should be signed and dated by the person requesting its validity
- Wills should be made in the presence of witnesses or should otherwise be notarized
- Wills will remain valid until another valid will supersedes it
Limitations to Wills
There are a few legal restrictions that could prevent you from carrying out your full intentions. For instance, there are some laws that prohibit you from disinheriting your spouse or child. Some state laws could prevent you from completely disinheriting the person you married without his or her consent. This can be easily avoided, however, if there is a mutual and valid prenuptial agreement in place.
What is a Will Executor?
When you are in the midst of drafting your will, you will need to appoint a representative, also known as an executor. This individual(s) will be responsible for performing the wishes you have stated in the will. This individual does not have to be a relative but it can be if you choose to do so. You can also choose a trusted friend. You should, however, consider choosing an alternate. It is important that you tell this selected individual that you plan on having him or her be your executor. It is also similarly important that you advise him or her of her duties. The following is a limited list of some of the most common responsibilities of the executor:
- Collecting debts that were owed to you
- Consolidating and managing your assets
- Selling your property if you owe estate taxes or other similar expenses
- File all the necessary tax and/or court documents for your estate
Unfortunately, wills can be declared invalid. If a person has passed and has otherwise failed to reach the completion of the process, it is likely that his or her family will face repercussions. One of the most worrisome effects of having an invalid will may include facing a complicated, time-consuming, and highly expensive legal process.
Find a Lawyer for Drafting Your Will
Writing a will can save your loved ones plenty of time and money when you are no longer alive. A will can also ease your mind by organizing your wishes and your worries after you pass on.
Going through the process of drafting a will could be senseless if you do not have the tools necessary to draft a valid will. Speak to a qualified attorney who can support you through this endeavor. An experienced and qualified attorney can help you understand the local rules and regulations concerning your specific will. Make sure your legacy is preserved. Obtain the help and support of an estate planning attorney. Also consider looking into the various types of trusts to further care for your loved ones’ futures.