Writing a will is one of the most important tasks you can do for your family and loved ones. A will allows you to retain control over who inherits your possessions. And you will have peace of mind in knowing that your assets will go the persons of your choice.
A will is a legal document in which you state who will be responsible for your estate following your demise. The person you designate in your will to manage your estate is referred to as the executor of your will. You can also mention in your will who you would like to be the guardian of any minor children or dependents, as well as identify the beneficiaries of your property.
However, there are specific types of property that are not covered by wills. They include insurance policies and retirement accounts. Check your policies and accounts to ensure that they are updated to reflect any major life changes, such as divorce, re-marriage, or the birth of a child.
If you die without having made a will, you will die intestate, meaning that the settlement of your estate will be in accordance with the laws of the state in which you reside. Your estate will go through probate, which is the legal process of turning over the property of the testator to the beneficiaries.
Because no executor was appointed, a judge will appoint an administrator to assume the role of executor. A judge will also appoint an administrator in the event the will is considered invalid. In order to be considered valid, a will must be signed in the presence of witnesses. However, the requirements differ among the states.
In all likelihood, an administrator will be unfamiliar with you and your family, and will have to comply with the laws of your state. Thus, an administrator may make determinations that are not in agreement with your wishes or those of your heirs.
If you are considering making a will or have concerns regarding your estate, call the estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of McDowell Posternock Apell & Detrick PC.
The article above: (1) does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship, (2) is not intended as a solicitation, (3) is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and (4) is not a substitute for personalized legal advice from a qualified attorney. You should not act upon any such information without first seeking qualified professional counsel about your specific matter.