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Why a Last Will & Testament Matters for Your Kids - What to Know

Preparing for the last will is often an uncomfortable process for many. However, it’s a necessary step. It is crucial for the protection of your family in the event of an untimely death. Not only is it a legal document that mandates what should happen with your assets after your passing, but it holds the power to define who should receive custody of any children.

As a parent, it’s vital to ensure that your last wishes contain the following:

 

A Personal Guardian for Your Children

The most crucial part of your will involves stating the personal guardian for your children upon your death. This is especially important if you no longer have a living spouse. This will prevent the court from passing your children to the hands of social services or adoption.

With that in mind, the guardian is responsible for handling the day-to-day aspects of parenting. That means claiming legal authority for your children. It also includes taking over significant decisions such as living conditions, education, food, and more. To that end, it’s essential to choose a guardian whom you share ideals with and ultimately trust. Don’t forget to add a back-up guardian in case anything happens with your current choice.

 

A Financial Guardian for Your Children

You can choose your personal guardian to handle the financial responsibilities for your children. You also have the option of picking someone else. On that note, a financial guardian will oversee assets and will be entrusted with the task of distributing them for the benefit of your child until they become of age for inheritance.

 

A Clear Distribution of Your Assets

Your assets involve everything you own - from jewelry, collectibles, letters, properties, cars, and more. With that in mind, be sure to state a transparent distribution of your assets in your will if you want to leave for a specific child or individual.

Try to be as specific as possible to avoid confusion and legal disputes. Nevertheless, if you do not have any particular recipient for your assets, then it will be distributed according to the parameters you set within your final wishes.

 

Prepare for Your Children’s Future Education

Your death doesn’t mean that you can no longer protect your children in the future and prepare for their education. A testament can handle finances and follow your wishes regarding your children’s academic needs. For instance, a portion of your estate can cover their tuition for private school if that’s what you wish. This will also help keep your children from spending their inheritance over irresponsible possessions instead of college tuition.

 

State How Your Children Will Receive their Inheritance

Distributing your assets according to your specifications doesn’t necessarily have to stop with the process of splitting the cash between its intended recipients. You can exhaust your options and specify precisely how you want your children to receive their inheritance, especially when it involves minor kids. Take note that your children cannot inherit property when they are not yet of legal age, so be sure to weigh your options carefully to ensure your children can inherit your possessions as smoothly as possible.

 

In Conclusion

Preparing for your will is crucial for your children’s future as its absence will leave them vulnerable. Their education, financial security, custody, and environment largely depends on your last wishes, so taking the time and effort to write a will ensure that you can protect your children the way you want them to be protected upon your passing.

 

If you’re looking for help in preparing your last will and testament, get in touch with us today! We’re happy to help!

 

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Why Estate Planning Is So Important

It’s an important issue to think about, who’s going to get your wealth after you’re gone? It’s not a fun thing to think about. However, you should not postpone it. You don’t know when it’s going to happen to your family.

You don’t need to be a millionaire to do an estate planning. Anything you own that might be of value can be included in your estate. This will avoid disputes and hefty sums of costs for your family.

If you aren’t convinced that you should do this now, allow us to compel you with these reasons.

 

1- Prevents Wealth From Going To Unintended Beneficiaries

Considered a very common thing in the legal process. Someone with a sum of wealth hasn’t done their estate planning. They pass away. During the legal process of the deceased’s estate, an obscure relative swoops in and takes a large chunk of the estate. Investing your time into an estate planning will spare your family from a legal headache that can last years.

You can specify your wishes in the will to be given to whomever you want.

 

2- Protects Families With Young Children

If you have a small child, you can state in your will who you want to be the guardian of your child. Not only that a will keep your assets safe, it will keep your children safe as well. You might have a distant family member that sees that they can benefit from your child. They may chime in and take the custody of them. It’s hard enough for your children to go through your death. You don’t want them to suffer throughout their lives because of it.

 

3- Spares Heirs A Big Tax Bite

Without a good estate plan, the IRS can chime in and push undercounted taxes onto your family. An estate plan will make sure that your heirs don’t have to go through this. When it comes to inheritance, the combination of different taxes will pile up very quickly. Federal, state, and other income taxes can make the overall inheritance very pricey.

 

4- Eliminates Family Messes When You're Gone

The sharing of your wealth after you’re gone became something that many families have been torn apart. A sibling thinks they deserve this while the other think that they deserve that. This can very quickly lead to a dispute or a lawsuit between your own family members. It’s painful to watch and to be a part of. For this reason, you should do an estate plan to avoid this issue. Your assets will be distributed exactly the way you want it to be distributed. Your family might not agree, but at least they don’t put themselves under over it.

Bottom line, your family will be more secure from outside interference when it comes to how your estate will be distributed. It’s a safety precaution for some unknown event that could tear your family apart. So be sure to protect your family with an estate plan today.

Set up an estate plan of your own with The Free Will Kit. The Free Will Kit is 100% FREE, it comes with a FREE Will and Testament, a FREE living Will and Health Care Surrogate along with a FREE Will Workbook to help you fill out the Will(s) with easy to understand and step-by-step instructions.

 

 

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What is a Medical Power of Attorney?

With the combination of a medical power of attorney and a living will, you can ensure that should you be considered incapable to make your own medical treatment decisions, you will still be getting the treatment you prefer. Most people often refer this combination of documents as an advance directive documents.

What is a medical power of attorney document?

This legal document allows you to select someone you trust to make medical decisions for you in circumstances where you cannot make them yourself. [1] This may be in the case of an accident when you become unconscious, in a coma, or even rendered psychologically incapable of making your own treatment decisions.

How is it different from a living will?

A living will document notes your own preferred medical treatment in certain situations. [2] It doesn’t cover as many circumstances as a medical power of attorney usually does. No one else has the responsibility for making your decisions for you, and is used only when you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious. In the case that you become temporarily incapacitated but expected to recover, this document usually does not come into play. It also doesn’t designate any individual to be making your decisions while you are still incapable. In such a circumstance, a medical power of attorney would be more beneficial.

These two documents can be made separately, but some people choose to combine it into a single document.

How do I select a representative?

Your representative must be a mentally competent adult and should also not act as your healthcare provider. It does not necessarily have to be a family member. It should simply be an individual that you trust who can act in your best interest. They should have a good understanding of what treatment you would prefer or what you would definitely avoid if you were in certain circumstances. You could simply sit down and have a conversation with your representative, or communicate these wishes in a living will.

When you select your representative, it’s important that you choose someone not easily influenced by doctors or other medical professionals. At times, your representative may have to oppose medical recommendations to honor your wishes. It would also be a good idea if you select someone with some knowledge regarding medical conditions.

Finally, ensure that your representative will honor your wishes even if they do not agree with them. If they accept this responsibility willingly and be an impartial third party making decisions in your stead, then go ahead and appoint them.

Can I select multiple representatives?

You can name more than one individual, but it may be a bad idea in case conflict arises. However, you can name a successor who will make decisions in the case of the original representative being unavailable to act in your stead when needed. 

Forms

Quite a few states have begun using legally acceptable fill-in-the-blank medical power of attorney forms. Many individuals have chosen to combine this form with a living will. You could also opt to use a comprehensive power of attorney document so that your representative also has financial authority in addition to medical authority. Sometimes, separate forms for mental health decisions exists specifically.

You do not need these forms, but they are often relatively reliable and more acceptable forms to use.

You will need to personally sign the form in the presence of witnesses, and in some cases, a notary. These witnesses cannot be healthcare providers or anyone who stands to inherit assets in the case of your death.  

How do I use these documents?

These documents can be used only if your healthcare providers know that they exist. Your representative should have the authentic copy, while your general practitioner should have copies for records.  [3] Should you be admitted into a hospital, your documents will probably be required for admission. That being said, in an emergency, there may not be time to gather documents. In that case, your representative will have to be informed and bring those documents along with them to the hospital. In such a circumstance, your representative should use the medical power of attorney initially. If a medical professional or any other individual questions whether these decisions are being made in your best interest, then only should the living will be shown to indicate that their decisions are backed up by your words.

With these documents, you can ensure they carry out your wishes in case you become incapacitated and unable to make your medical decisions.

“The Free Will Kit” includes a medical power of attorney and is 100% FREE.

It also comes with:

✅ A FREE Will and Last Testament
✅ A FREE Living Will
✅ Along with a FREE Will Workbook to help you fill out the Will(s) with easy to understand and step-by-step instructions.
To get yours, click below.

References:

1. American Bar Association. Patient Self-Determination Act: State Law Guide. American Bar Association Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly. August 1991.

2. "Health Care Proxy/Living Will | Stony Brook Medicine". www.stonybrookmedicine.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-29.

3. Harvard Health Publishing. “Keep Your Advance Directive Safe but Accessible.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/keep-your-advance-directive-safe-but-accessible.

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What To Know About Medical Power of Attorney

A Medical Power of Attorney is a document that names one individual you have elected to make medical decisions for you. [1] This can only be used in situations where you cannot make them yourself. This individual will represent you in a variety of medical decisions. This depends on whether you give them restricted or full responsibility for decisions pertaining to your health.

For instance, some people choose to have their representative make the decision of whether or not to put them on life support in a situation of no hope of improvement. Others choose to give them complete authority, so they can withhold or withdraw consent for any medical care, regarding drugs, surgery, treatment, or any other number of things.

This document can also extend to psychiatric treatment, hospitalization, home health care, and even organ donation in the case of death. 

How is a Medical Power of Attorney document different than a Living Will?

The latter document states decisions that you have already made in predetermined situations. [2] For instance, it may state that you do not wish to stay on life support if there exists no hope of improvement. With a Medical Power of Attorney, however, someone else conveys that power. [1] It is useful for circumstances that you cannot predict.

Since you can’t predict these circumstances, you can’t very well make the decisions for them ahead of time, right? With a Medical Power of Attorney document, a trusted individual can make decisions for you if you find yourself in unpredictable circumstances.

Do I need a Living Will if I’ve got a Medical Power of Attorney document?

It would be beneficial to have both. Any decisions you make in a Living Will should be followed up with the name of the person you have designated to be your representative in your Medical Power of Attorney.

When would a Medical Power of Attorney be used?

This document is used in circumstances where you cannot make your own decisions regarding medical care. [1] If you got into an automobile crash, unconscious, and need care, your representative comes into a play. It also applies if they considered you mentally incompetent and unable to make proper decisions, for instance if you were suffering from dementia.

How would I be considered capable or incapable of making my own medical decisions?

A medical professional, usually either a doctor or a psychologist, will evaluate your condition to determine your capability or lack thereof in making your own choices when it comes to medical care. If you become incapacitated but conscious, you will be informed of your incapacitation and advised that your representative will now be making your medical decisions for you.

“The Free Will Kit” includes a medical power of attorney and is 100% FREE.

It also comes with:

✅ A FREE Will and Last Testament
✅ A FREE Living Will
✅ Along with a FREE Will Workbook to help you fill out the Will(s) with easy to understand and step-by-step instructions.
To get yours, click below.

References:

1. American Bar Association. Patient Self-Determination Act: State Law Guide. American Bar Association Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly. August 1991.

2. "Health Care Proxy/Living Will | Stony Brook Medicine". www.stonybrookmedicine.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-29.

 

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What You Need to Know About Contesting a Will

What is a will? A will is basically a legal document stating the wishes of the testator with regards to the distribution of their assets upon their passing.

When a family member dies, chances are his or her assets will go to you as the surviving spouse or remaining child depending on what the will itself says. This means that you end up becoming the sole owner of the testator’s assets, such as a car, finances and real estate properties.

But what if for some reason those assets end up going to someone who you think doesn’t have any legal rights to them. Can you actually contest a will if something strikes you as suspicious or strange? What rights do you have in the event that something like this happens?

In the next section, we’ll learn more about what contesting a will entails and how the process goes. Here’s what you need to know about contesting a will:

 

Mental State of the Testator

The first thing to consider is the mental state of the testator or the person who wrote the will. He or she must have the testamentary capacity to make a will. In other words, he or she must be in the right frame of mind to prepare and draft a will. Typically, courts examine if the testator knows the following:

 

  • What it means to make a will.
  • Who will be provided for in the will.
  • What he or she owns.
  • How to distribute the assets.

 

With all these in place, the court ensures the validity of the testator’s written will.

 

Contest a Will due to Undue Influence

What, then, are the grounds to contest a particular will? In most cases, you can contest a will due to undue influence. Typically, you will assert that a sister, brother, caregiver, or another relative coerced the testator to prepare a will in their favor. That said, below are the standard factors that a judge will examine in cases of undue influence:

 

  • An unusual distribution of assets is a red flag. For instance, you are expected to get a certain portion of the assets, but you are excluded for some reason. The assets are then assigned to the testator’s personal caretaker.
  • There was a confidential relationship. Chances are this confidential relationship made the testator susceptible to being pressured by the person in question.
  • The person who had a confidential relationship with the testator is the one who ended up benefiting from the unusual distribution of assets.
  • The person who had a confidential relationship with the testator seems to have abused their trust.

 

Contest a Will due to Failed Will Formalities

Should the will formalities have failed, you have grounds to contest a will. So you should check if any will formalities really were violated before contesting the will. In most cases, the common will requirements are as follows:

 

  • The testator should be at least 18 years of age.
  • The will does something substantial.
  • The will should be duly witnessed
  • The testator’s wishes should be clearly stated in the will.

 

Reasons You Can’t Contest a Will

On the other side of the spectrum, there may be reasons why you can’t contest a will. It’s better to be aware of these reasons before you take the plunge in order to save time and effort. So what are the circumstances under which you can’t contest a will? They are as follows:

 

  • You were promised something verbally, but you didn’t receive anything.
  • The will was written using an online service.
  • You think you deserve something.

 

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The 10 Duties of An Executor of A Will

An executor of will is legally bound to straighten out the assets of the person who passed. This usually means ensuring all debts and taxes get taken care of. Also, remaining assets should get distributed to who you want them to end up. Assigned executors may vary. However, most of the time, close family members of the deceased gets chosen. For example, a spouse, a descendant, a parent, or a sibling.

Usually state laws consists of compensation laws in place for executors of will. However, oftentimes executors close family members deny payment. Along with straightening out debts and distributing assets, executors often perform the following duties:

1 - File a copy of the deceased’s will with the local probate court

You do not need a probate but a filed will with the local probate court. The executor needs to take care of this duty to determine who will receive which assets.

2 - Apprise financial institutions and government agencies of the deceased’s passing

You should inform a few of  institutions about the deceased’s passing. This includes any banks, credit card companies, and the Social Security Administration.

3 - Open a bank account for any lingering transactions

There may exist some payments that the deceased still needs to receive, or bills that still need to get paid. A couple examples of this includes remaining revenue, mortgages, utilities, and other things.

4 - List down the remaining assets

Oftentimes, state laws obligate the executor of will to do a detailed inventory of all the deceased’s remaining assets. After that, file it with the probate court.

5 - Figure out the type of probate needed

Probate isn’t always necessary, especially in the circumstance of joint-owned property. There may even exist an expedited process eligible for the estate to go through. However, the executor will determine the kind of probate needed.

6 - Care for the estate until ready for distribution

Prior to assets being distributed, the executor must take care of the estate. This may also involve the decision to sell and the process of doing so. Additionally, the executor should locate each article of personal property. Also, he or she needs to keep it safe until distribution.

7 - Take care of any remaining liabilities

As already mentioned, the executor should inform all financial institutions. This includes creditors, of the deceased’s passing. If any outstanding debts and taxes exists, the executor should use the deceased’s assets to pay off the remaining liabilities.

8 - Distribute remaining assets

The deceased usually outlines their wishes pertaining to the distribution of assets in the will. In this case, the executor should ensure that the assets get distributed accordingly. If not, state intestacy laws apply.

9 - Dispose of remaining property

Disposal of any remaining property after liabilities get paid and assets get distributed.

10 - Represent the estate

The executor of will gets the responsibility if a representative gets called to stand for the estate in court.

Properties vary from extremely large, very small, or especially complex. An executor’s duties can be equally as diverse according to that. At times, an executor needs to perform duties that go beyond the ones mentioned in this article. Though someone can decline the responsibility of executor, often proper legal advice makes a big difference. Consult an attorney if you feel you need some extra guidance.

 

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3 Reasons Why You Should Plan Your Will ASAP

As the old saying goes, you never know when your time is up. It holds true now more than ever, with unexpected deaths happening all over the world. While the thought of dying might be scary, you have to prepare for your death. Aside from buying a memorial plan, one thing you should do is to make a last will and testament. 

You should understand that there’s nothing wrong with making a will for your loved ones to consult should tragedy strike when you least expect it. One of the most common reasons why families break apart or squabble after a loved one dies is that their dearly departed relative didn’t draw up a will. In other words, if you don’t have a will, your family may get drawn into a long, drawn-out legal process. They will inevitably come into conflict with each other when distributing the estate of the departed. 

Although drawing up a will might seem like a no-brainer now, the truth is that people get stuck on the idea of making one and end up not doing so at all. They will put off the process of getting their affairs in order until things take an unexpected turn. Typically, most people tend to delay the process of writing up their will for plenty of reasons, such as the preconceived notion that it’s complicated, it takes up too much time, or it will cost too much. All of those are phoney reasons that justify procrastination.

Why should you plan out your will or estate plan ahead of time

Typically, the majority of adults around the world (50 to 60 percent, to be exact) don’t have a will or an estate plan at all, which leaves their families unprepared for the worst. Drafting up a will or estate plan will only require a small portion of your time and barely any money, so it’s best to get ahead and be a part of the minority that actually has everything planned out.

Drawing up your last will and testament or estate plan is an important task that you’ll have to do no matter how old you are. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t delay this crucial process any longer:

The planning process is actually really easy

While some people may tell you otherwise, creating a will on your own terms can actually be a fairly simple task. It will only take a short amount of time to plan and an even shorter amount of time to write. Once you start the process of drafting it, you’ll realize that it’s easier and quicker than you thought, and you may even end up finishing the document long before you expect to. Making a will is just like learning how to float in water: it might seem difficult or even scary at first, but it’s easy and simple once you actually get around to doing it. 

Everything will go how you want it to

One of the worst things that could happen when you pass on is that somebody will go around dictating what “you” want your loved ones to get, and what “you” supposedly wanted for your arrangements as soon as you passed on. That’s just plain disrespectful. You can avoid this by drawing up your own will. You can create a simple guide for your loved ones to follow when it comes to ensuring that your funeral arrangements and other things will be done according to your standards. 

Aside from arranging everything according to how you want it, another advantage that comes with drawing up a will is that you can choose who your executor is. That means you can get that dirty laptop-stealing cousin of yours out of the equation. By drafting up your will, you can ensure that you’ll have the right person taking care of your loved ones when you’re gone.

You’ll give everybody peace of mind

Although no one expects the worst to happen, chances are that their family members and close friends will end up fighting each other over the things you’ll leave behind. One of the sad truths about dying is that some relatives might take advantage of the opportunity to take your assets. They may even take control of your children when you never wanted them to. To help clear up confusion, drawing up your will ahead of time will definitely do your family members and loved ones a huge favor and keep everybody together.

 

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What Should You Know When Creating a Will

A will may just be a piece of paper, but it’s a very important piece of document. It indicates someone’s “will,” what they want to happen with their properties after they pass away. The will is created to make key appointments. It assigns an executor, a person or entity responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will. The will then goes to discuss the distribution of the departed’s estate, which collectively refers to everything that the owner of the will owned.

One’s estate includes bank accounts, real estate properties, investments, company shares, and all other possessions, including personal jewelry and family heirlooms.

Contrary to what some people might think, a will is not just for the rich and famous. Anyone can create a will to make sure that everything is in place when they pass away. A will provides closure, in a way that there will be no confusion as to what property goes to where and whom.  A will ensures that one’s properties and possessions are left in the care of people they trust.

People who are wondering how a will is created might also be curious about how much it will cost. Read on to know more about what a will entails and how much creating one cost.

 

How to Create a will

Distributing one’s assets can be done in two ways. A specific “bequest” specifies an amount or particular property to be left with someone. For instance, one could say, “I leave $50,000 to my daughter, Emily Watson.” Another example would be, “I leave the house at (address) to my son, Sam Watson.”

Another way is to leave a percentage of the estate. For example: “I leave 10 percent of my entire estate to be equally divided and distributed to the employees of my company.” A will typically combine these two methods.

According to the law, a will must be written and printed on a piece of paper and manually signed at the end. When the will is typed and printed, it must be signed in the presence of witnesses. A witness is not required in most states if the entire will was handwritten, which is referred to as a holographic will. However, the latter is not recommended unless there is no other choice for the owner of the will.

Under the current law, electronically signed wills, video wills, and verbal promises are not accepted as legal wills. Photocopied, faxed, scanned, and digitized wills are not readily accepted by the court unless there is strong proof that the original was lost or damaged.

 

Free wills

When one searches about how to create a will, they will likely stumble upon “free” last will and testament. There are two ways one can create a free will.

  • Blank Form will Kit - In this method, a person can access a blank form that contains a generic paragraph with blanks. In the blanks, the person will supply the details of the will: who gets what and how much.
  • Do-it-Yourself - A person may attempt to create their own last will and testament after looking at samples online. DIY will’s result in cost savings.

 

Having the will Created by an Estate Planning Attorney

Working with an estate planning attorney will naturally cost more than the methods above. However, it will ensure that the will is comprehensive and concise and that it meets guidelines and law requirements. The estate planning attorney may also provide legal advice.

The average cost of having a will created by an estate planning attorney is more or less $500

 

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9 Key Benefits of Having A Legal Will
Addressing your impending death can be rather depressing. That being said, it’s an unavoidable part of life. What you do now can make a big difference in what you leave behind. It’s important to think about your legal will prior to passing over.

1 - You can make sure your wishes are executed

If you have some major assets that you want to go to specific places, you can make sure of that even through a legally binding will. That way you can ensure that your possessions end up where you want them to. Even after your death.

2 - You can decide on care for your children

A will is important if you still have dependent children. You can make sure that they receive care from the family member you appoint in the event of your death. Should you fail to arrange care for them, someone else may care for them. They may even end up in the system.

3 - It keeps your family from fighting over your possessions

When people pass on without a will, their remaining family members receives their estate. Sometimes, people end up in legal battles with their own family members. Neither of them will let go of the four-karat diamond ring. By making the decisions for them while you’re alive, you can give them time to grieve your passing. They don’t have to argue over your belongings.

4 - You get to choose what you want to be done with your body

If there’s a specific plot of land you purchased in the event of your death, you should it in your will. If you want to do away with the burial thing altogether, you can even state that you’d rather choose cremation.

5 - You can ensure your money goes where you want it to

If you’ve got kids, you may have started an education fund for them. In the event of your death, it’s best that you specify that your money will go towards your children's’ future. That way, it won’t fall into the wrong hands and being used for different things.

6 - A will makes clear who the executor will be

In a will, you can appoint a legal executor to make sure your wishes gets executed the way you want them to. Without this legally binding document, a public trustee will most likely receive your will. This will take quite a bit of money out of what you left behind.

7 - Property can go where it should

If you don’t have a will, your property usually goes to your next-of-kin. Without immediate family members, your house may end up in the hands of some long-lost family member. With a will, you can ensure that your property goes where you want it to. You can choose whether to a close friend or a charity that you want to support. If you have a partner but not legally married, they may lose the property that you have shared too. [2] With a will, you can ensure that it goes to them.

8 - Your pets will be cared for by whom you appoint

Most people consider their pets big parts of the family. When you pass on, use a will to keep your cherished furry family member out of the pound. Help them run into the arms of someone willing to take care of them.

9 - You’ll save your family time and money

Instead of having to spend time and money hiring lawyers, paying for public trustees, and figuring out taxes, your family members can grieve your passing. Wills cost much less than disputes over your property. Looking to find a way to set up a last will and testament that isn’t overwhelming? Check out “The Free Will Kit” It is 100% FREE, it comes with a FREE Will and Testament, a FREE living Will and Health Care Surrogate along with a FREE Will Workbook to help you fill out the Will(s) with easy to understand and step-by-step instructions.   Request The FREE Will Kit™

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What You Need to Know about Basic Wills - Our Guide

Have you ever thought about what will happen if you die without drawing up a will? Here's what will happen: the state will decide what happens to your estate, which includes all your assets and possessions. In other words, the law will dictate who's going to inherit what after your death. 

This is probably why you've heard people saying that if you do nothing else to take care of your legal affairs, you should write a will. A valid last will and testament will leave no questions as to what your wishes are when you die. In short, you may express what you want to happen after your death through a simple will.

In the next section, we'll learn more about the importance of a basic will, discuss its correlation with probate, and cite a few examples. Maybe after that, you can see if a basic will is for you.

 

Importance of Basic Will

What exactly is a basic will? By definition, a basic or simple will is a legal document stating the wishes of the testator with regards to the distribution of their assets upon his or her death. The testator is the one who wrote the will. The executor is the one who will handle the estate during the testator's death, as stated in the will. 

In essence, a basic will specifies or states the following:

  • People and organizations you choose to leave some of your property to
  • Someone to manage the property you leave to your minor children
  • Who will care for your minor children since you won’t be around to do so
  • Your executor, the person tasked to make sure your will is followed to the letter

 

Instances Requiring Basic Will 

If you are below 50 years old and you only have a few valuable assets, you can come up with a basic will. However, when you're older and have acquired more assets and properties, you may need to have a more complex will and testament. Let's look at an example of how a basic will works.  

Chances are you and your spouse are getting older and have properties you want to leave to each other or your children in equal shares. You may also want to name a personal guardian for your children. Part of this is to have an executor who will oversee and execute your basic will. 

For instance, you and your spouse own two cars and have a total net worth of $400,000. You have one child named John, aged 11. In your will, you state that if you and your spouse die, all these assets will go directly to your son, John. You also indicate that your brother, June, will act as the executor and John’s guardian. June will take care of John and manage the property until John turns 18.

 

Basic Will and Probate

Another important matter as well is the relationship between a basic will and probate. The question is, can a basic will avoid probate? The simple answer is no. Probate is a legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine whether it is authentic and valid. Its length varies from state to state and can take anywhere from six months to a year. This may eat up three to five percent of your estate in lawyers' and court fees, and your beneficiaries will probably get little. But if you need only a basic will, you have very little reason to be concerned with probate. Your real concern is to make legal arrangements, should something unexpected happen to you. You've still got plenty of time to plan for probate later.

 

Final Words: Is a Basic Will for You?

The question is, is a basic will for you? The answer is yes if you:

  • Are in pretty good health.
  • Are under the age of 50.
  • Don't expect to owe estate tax upon your death.

 

However, if one of the following applies to you, then you probably need something more complex than a basic will. This includes the following cases:

  • Needing to control what happens to your property after your death.
  • Having a child with a disability or other special needs.
  • Having children from a prior marriage.
  • Needing to control what happens to your property after your death.
  • Thinking someone might contest your will.
  • When you or your spouse owes estate tax after your death

 

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DISCLAIMER: The author, the publisher and the vendor of these forms makes no representations or warranties regarding the outcome or the use to which these forms are put and are not assuming any liability for any claims, losses, or damages arising out of the use of these forms. The user should not rely on the author or the publisher of these forms for any professional advice. Always consult with a lawyer regarding the rules and regulations governing your residing state/province. The information provided is for illustrative purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issues and concerns related to the drafting of wills and other legal documents. Remember that individual situations and estate planning needs differ, and this Kit may not be suitable for your specific circumstances.
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