Writing a Will
Writing a Will is relatively straightforward, but the process will be easier by taking time to become familiar with legal jargon. The simplest way to execute a last will and testament is to hire a lawyer, but there are also do it yourself Will kits that are sufficient for small estates.
There are many considerations of writing a Will. People who have minor children will want to choose a guardian capable of raising their kids should the unthinkable happen. Parents who gift money or property to minors will also want to select a property custodian responsible for managing their trust.
Setting up a Will for married couples and singles is commonplace. But, what if you have a life partner or are single with adult children? Each life scenario entails unique circumstances that require research to ensure assets are safeguarded and passed along to heirs.
Another consideration is deciding who will act as your personal representative. Estate settlement isn't an easy task even when everything is taken care of ahead of time. It involves a lot of paperwork and filing documents through the court system. Most courts carry excessive loads, so settling estates can be a lengthy process.
The person appointed should be reliable, trustworthy, good with finances, and devout enough to stand by your final wishes regardless of what happens. For the most part required protocol as a personal representative is cut-and-dry. But, if family disputes over property erupt, estate agents could be put in a no-win situation.
It's wise to think long and hard about who will settle your estate. It's also wise to talk to that person before putting their name in the Will. Probate personal representatives need to be at least 18 years of age and have a clear criminal background. Anyone convicted of a felony is prohibited from settling an estate.
A lot of property can be gifted through the assignment of beneficiaries and bypass probate. Any property with assigned beneficiaries can be given to heirs pretty quickly because it is exempt from probate.
It's best to obtain expert counsel when setting up beneficiaries for titled property. Different types of titles are required in various states or they have different names. For example jointly own property could be titled as Tenants in Common, Tenancy in Common, Joint Tenants in Common, or Joint Tenants in Common with Rights of Survivorship.
In regard to designating beneficiaries to receive property, two terms are used in Wills. The first is heirs, which refers to direct lineage relatives of parents, siblings, and children. The second is beneficiaries, which can be heirs, distant relatives, friends, institutions, organizations, and non-profits.
Taking inventory of owned property and personal belongings is essential for deciding which estate planning method works best. It can be helpful to take photos of items and create a catalog with assigned beneficiaries.
A good place to learn about the legalities of writing a Will is NOLO. Recognized as an industry leader for providing legal information, NOLO offers a vast array of do it yourself forms and online services, along with free legal information. Anything you need to know about setting up a Will can be found at NOLO.com.
LegalZoom is another reliable source for estate planning information. LegalZoom provides online services for creating a last will and testament, setting up a living trust, and writing a living will.
The process is simple and only requires answering questions pertaining to assets, heirs, and beneficiaries. Once information is entered, LegalZoom creates a last Will and sends it via mail. It can't get much easier than this.
Additionally, we offer an extensive collection of articles about probate and estate planning and hope we can guide you to the sources you need for writing a Will. For a few hours of time you can have inner peace and know your family is taken care of if something happens to you.