There are many benefits of a will and the process of making sure it is legally viable.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document that coordinates the distribution of your assets after death and can appoint guardians for minor children.
What should a will include?
Some of the primary benefits of a will are that it allows you to clearly and precisely communicate your wishes and ensure that they are followed even after you have passed away.
A typical will includes the following:
- Designation of an executor – this is the person designated to carry out the provisions of the will
- Identification of beneficiaries – these are the individuals and/or companies who will inherit the assets
- Instructions – the details for how and when the beneficiaries will receive the assets
- Designation of guardians – the person or persons who will care for any minor children
What happens if I do not have a will?
If you do not have a will, then the state in which you reside will get to decide how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries and where to place your children according to its laws. This is known as dying intestate and the settlement that results may not reflect what you would want in any way. Again, the benefits of a will are that you can prevent chaos and ensure that your wishes are honored.
How do I ensure that my will is legally binding?
State laws differ; however, there are some steps that you can take to ensure legality. An “oral will” (for example, final requests that are spoken aloud in front of witnesses) and a “holographic will” (a document drawn up by you without the presence of witnesses) may not be legally binding in a court of law. Your will should formally prepared and signed by two to three witnesses to ensure that it is legally binding and that your wishes will be adhered to.
If you are interested in exploring the benefits of a will or additional Estate Planning