Trusts and Estates

Wills Top 10

A will is perhaps the best and easiest way to make sure your property and assets go to the people you want to have them after you die. Here's a list of some important things to remember when it comes to making a will.

Wills Top 10

Having a valid will is important for anyone with a family or anyone who owns property or has assets like cash or collectibles. In most instances, it's a quick, easy and inexpensive process, and, in any event, it's always worth the time and effort.

    • If you don't have a will, state law determines who gets your property and assets
    • Intestacy means there's no will at all or a will isn't legally valid
    • Only adults of "sound mind" may make a will
    • A will needs to be in writing and signed by you (testator) in front of witnesses or it could be challenged in a will contest
      • A handwritten will may be OK, but it's better to type it or use a form. If you can't sign, you can name someone to sign it for you
      • Name an "executor" or representative to make sure your wishes are carried out
      • You can specify that certain things go to certain people, called "beneficiaries" or "devisees"
      • Guardians to take care of your children should be named
      • You can change your will later by adding a "codicil"
      • Usually, you can't leave your spouse or minor children out of your will (called "disinheriting")

      Contact a wills and probate attorney if you have any questions about your will.

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