Drafting the last will and testament is an inevitable component of estate planning. However, if measures are not put in place to ensure its legality, efforts are put to waste and risk having an intestate estate. This article talks about how you can check if a will is valid and the process of creating it. However, if you decide to write your legal will, consult with a trustworthy estate planning attorney.
Wills, whether in written (holographic will), oral (nuncupative will), or video-recorded format, carry the last wishes regarding estate management of the person who drafted it once he dies. It enumerates all assets owned, to whom it is bequeathed to, how the beneficiary transfer will occur, and whom you appoint as the will executor, also called the personal representative. If the deceased is survived by children, the will can also be used for appointing guardianship. The guardian will be legally responsible for any surviving minors.
A written will is only executed after death. If you wish to provide your estate plan in case you develop a mental incapacity, the living will is the better option. An estate planning lawyer such as James Jones can provide legal advice regarding options in making a will.
Elements Which Make Last Wills Legal
1. The will creator is of legal age and capacity. As a general rule, you are of legal capacity when you reach 18, are legally married, or a registered U.S. military member. Moreover, the testator must be in testamentary capacity which means he has a sound understanding of his personal estate and how assets will be disposed of upon death.
2. The will is written intentionally and voluntarily. Upon signing of wills, testators must show intent to proceed with the disposition of properties upon their demise. Will making must be voluntary, not under duress, and the output should bear the personal intentions of the willmaker.
3. The last will and testament discuss estate administration. When you die, how the executor will distribute your property, and who will be the successors are determined by the terms in the will. When you draft a will, make sure to list all owned legacies and specify who will inherit these. Include the names of your surviving spouse, heirs, surviving children, or if unmarried, your designated friend, or beneficiaries.
4. Wills are signed in the presence of witnesses. Although anyone can write a will on a sheet of paper, it’s validity is not acceptable unless the creator signs it. The signing of the will should be witnessed by disinterested parties with no personal agenda or any interest in the inheritance. This means a successor or heir cannot be a witness. Witnesses will testify that the testator has completed the will under a sound mental capacity and in the absence of coercion or undue influence. To make sure that your wishes will be carried over when you pass away, work with an estate planning lawyer who will guide you on the specific estate planning procedures and laws in your state.
Again, although the majority of states require wills in writing (whether typewritten or handwritten), executing other forms can still be done after death provided that they meet the criteria above and it is in a medium acceptable in your state. Your will attorney will be able to guide you on what formats you can consider when drafting the legal document and provide you with templates for will writing.
It is important to check that your testament is valid to avoid the possibility of it being revoked and prevent a person to contest a will.
Creating A Will
If you have all the elements in mind and have evaluated your fortune or personal-property, you’re now ready to make a will. The process is fairly straightforward: the naming of heirs and assets is done, the will is signed and dated in the presence of not less than two witnesses, each witness signs the affidavit, and it is kept hidden in a place known to executors. It will only be brought to court after the owner dies.
Having a legal and valid will is one of the greatest steps you can take when planning your estate. As no one can predict the time of their death, having wills and testaments ensure that loved ones will be taken care of even at your deathbed.
Now is the time to start planning for the future. Create you will under the supervision of James A. Jones Attorney At Law a trusted estate planning attorney in Tacoma. Call his office today for your free consultation.