A will is part of an estate plan that ensures that our desires are met when we pass away. While no one feels comfortable addressing his or her mortality, we must balance this against our desire to make sure that our loved ones are taken care of, and that the property that we worked so hard to attain goes where we want it.
What is a Will?
A will is a legally binding document in which a person (referred to as a “testator”) dictates how they want their property distributed, as well as creating a plan for the care of any minor children. There are specific requirements a will must meet to be considered valid, including that the testator is 18 or older, is of sound mind, and executes the will in writing and signed before two witnesses. Electronic wills and holographic wills are also permitted if they meet strict requirements.
Why Create a Will?
If a will is valid, then its terms control what happens to a testator’s property after the estate’s debts have been settled. There are indisputable advantages to creating a will.
- It gives you control and allows you to certify your specific intentions regarding your wealth and where it will go. This creates certainty for your loved ones and allows you peace of mind.
- Greater wealth means greater complexity in the probate process, and your will creates clarity and guidance for the probate court.
- You name someone you trust as your personal representative, or executor, who is given authority to carry out the terms of your will.
- A will allow the legal process to proceed in a much more predictable and efficient way than without a will.
Intestate Succession if You Die Without a Will
Many people don’t see creating or updating a will as a pressing or urgent matter. It is therefore far down on their daily to-do list. Sadly, life can turn quickly and people can unexpectedly pass away. Without a will, a person’s estate is subject to the laws of intestate succession.
This is a default set of guidelines established by the legislature, which dictates exactly who will get your property after your estate’s debts are settled. Under these guidelines, your estate will be divided in order of priority, starting with your spouse getting everything if you have no children, then your spouse and children dividing your separate property, then parents if you have no surviving spouse or children.
Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. is Here for You
If you are interested in creating or updating your estate plan, contact us. The experienced attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. provide thoughtful and compassionate advice and guidance to clients. We pride ourselves in developing relationships with our clients and work tirelessly to provide them custom-tailored choices to suit their needs. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a free consultation or contact our office through our website.