What is the main purpose of creating a will?
A will is a legal document that names who will inherit a person’s property after their death. It is common that the recipients include children, a surviving spouse, or a charitable organization of the deceased’s choice. Wills also usually include who will become a guardian for any minor children, if necessary.
What happens if I die without making a will?
If someone dies without create a will or another legal way to distribute their belongings, their state’s laws of intestate succession will decide who has the right to receive an inheritance. In most instances, the surviving spouse and children are first to receive the deceased’s property. In the event that the deceased was not married or did not have children, relatives including parents, grandparents, or siblings will inherit the property. In situations where the deceased does not have any relatives that are eligible for the inheritance under the state’s intestate succession laws, the state will receive the deceased’s assets.
If someone dies without a will while having minor children and the surviving parent is not able to take care of the children, the state will decide who will be the children’s guardian and which property the children will inherit.
Do I need to hire a lawyer to make my will valid?
State laws don’t mandate you to employ a lawyer to prepare your will. Most wills only include the instruction on how to distribute your property and to name who will care for your children, so many people believe they can create them on their own. However, it can be a complicated process and you may benefit from the help of a wills lawyer Ridgefield, CT trusts.
How do I ensure my will is valid?
Most states require the following aspects for a will to be considered valid:
- The testator, creator of the will, must be 18 years or older and of sound mind.
- It must state that this document is the testator’s will.
- Aside from a handwritten will, it needs to be typed.
- The will must at least have one point that appoints a guardian for a minor child or disposes of property.
- The will must appoint an executor.
- The testator and two or more witnesses must sign the will.
When it comes to signing the will and choosing witnesses, the testator needs to follow the below guidelines:
- The will must be signed and dated by the testator.
- The signature on the will by the testator must match the name on the will.
- The witnesses need to see the testator physically sign the will.
- The witnesses need to sign the will.
- The witnesses must all be over 18 year old.
- The witnesses are not able to be beneficiaries of the will.
How can I edit my will?
You are able to change your will by creating a new will or by creating an addition to your will called a codicil. If the changes are you planning to make are large, it may be easier to revoke your will and start over. To revoke your will, all you need to do is state in your new will that all prior wills are being revoked. If there needs to be a small change, such as removing a beneficiary or adding a new provision, creating a codicil is sufficient.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Sweeney Legal for their insight into wills.