A will, formally known as a last will and testament, is a legal document in which you specify your wishes for how your assets should be distributed and who should take care of your minor children, if any after you die. This important piece of estate planning is crucial for ensuring that your children are taken care of by a person you choose should both parents become unable to care for them and for passing your assets on to the beneficiaries you choose. If you die without a will, there can be unfortunate consequences. If you have minor children and both parents are unable to care for them, the court will choose a guardian in the absence of direction from a will. The probate court will also distribute your assets according to a state-mandated procedure. This may mean that assets that you worked hard to earn and save will go to someone you do not want to have them. If you want to be in charge of what happens to your assets and your minor children after you die, you must have a will in place.
What is an Executor and How Do I Choose One?
In your will, you will choose an executor of your estate. This is the person who will stand in for you and make sure that the wishes you expressed in your will are followed. The executor will act as your financial agent, paying any outstanding debts and distributing any remaining assets to the heirs you specified, in the amounts or percentages that you specified when you wrote your will.
Choosing the right executor is important, as they will have the authority to act in your place after you die. Of course, this must be someone you trust to carry out your wishes in an ethical and efficient manner. The person you choose should be in good health and young enough to be likely to outlive you. They should also be enough younger than you are so that they will still be mentally and physically capable of administering the estate even if you die in very old age. Serving as executor requires the person to manage financial documents and act responsibly and accurately. Therefore, the executor you choose should be someone capable of completing paperwork, meeting deadlines, and understanding financial complexities.
IS There a Way to Make My Will Uncontestable?
Unfortunately, there is no way to stop a person from contesting your will after you die, should they feel that the will is invalid in some way. Preparing your will with the help of a skilled estate planning attorney can ensure that they will not succeed in overturning it, however.
Do I Need an Attorney to Write a Will?
While it is possible to prepare a will without an attorney, these do-it-yourself documents are much more likely to be successfully contested. Even if they ultimately hold up in court, the process of validating them and assuring their legality can be a long and expensive process for your loved ones. Enlisting the help of one of our skilled attorneys can help your family get through the probate and estate administration process much more quickly and easily at a time they are likely to be grieving your loss. Call us today to get the help you need.