It is actually very important for everyone to have a will of some type. Those who die without a valid will commonly have probate issues that seldom come out as they or the surviving family want, as all assets are frozen and exposed in probate for all tax collectors and creditors holding outstanding debt.
Additionally, the disposition of any dependent children could be a problem as well. While children are always better off where they are most comfortable, those considerations do not always apply when the state steps in and multiple parties want custody.
The children’s wishes are not always respected in court, as are the wishes of the decedent in some cases when no advance directive is in place. Having an established valid will can be a relief for the surviving family in most cases.
What is a Will?
A will is an advanced directive from a decedent that states their wishes regarding the distribution of assets and personal property in the event of their death. They can be valid whether or not they are registered with the court, but court recognition is often the fact that allows the court to accept it uncontested.
Registration also is an advantage if any potential inheritors want to contest the validity. Anyone who wants to create a will should consider registration when there could be potential problems.
What to Consider Beforehand
There are essentially four steps that should be evaluated before you create will.
- Identify potential beneficiaries
The first step is identifying potential inheritors. Married individuals typically will fall under state law, as surviving spouses usually inherit all assets of their deceased legal partner in most states.
- Inventorying assets
The next step will be making a comprehensive list of all financial assets, real estate property, and personal property to be allocated for distribution following an untimely or looming death.
- Select potential guardians for children
Many testators have minor dependent children who can be seriously affected by the untimely death of a parent. Always think this selection over carefully, possibly even discussing the matter with the children or others in the family. Children typically are assigned under the guardianship of an immediate family member, but not always. The court has the final decision, but making your wishes known can be important for ongoing family stability.
- Choose someone to help in preparation
While it is not always vital to enlist the assistance of a lawyer, it is still a good decision to have someone assist in the preparation. Actually, it can be a very good decision to have a third party craft the will use the provided information. This way they can serve as an additional witness for a will that is not registered and could be easily contested in court. You can check out here to find a great lawyer that can assist you with any legal matters.
Always remember that direct beneficiaries such as spouses and children have a legal claim to property that may be allocated to someone else. In most cases, state law will overrule the will. It is always best to keep this in mind if you create a last will and testament without legal counsel. If you need help making your will, you can always reach out to places like GoodTrust.