A last will and testament is an important and commonly used estate planning document. It is also known as a will.
The purpose of a last will and testament is to allow the person creating it, known as the Testator to explain how they would like their assets distributed after their death. Wills may be either written by hand or typed in most states. Under certain circumstances, some states also allow an oral will to be considered legal.
A last will and testament is important for several reasons. One being your ability to explain how you would like your assets distributed after your death. The second reason it is important is because it can also be used to name a guardian for a minor child or an adult child who is considered incapacitated.
A last will and testament can minimize the fighting over assets and can also help improve the overall probate experience. A last will and important can be and should be updated as your life changes. Common reasons to review a last will and testament include a marriage, a divorce, the birth of a child, the adoption of a child, and acquiring or selling off certain assets.
Every state has their own statutes related to the creation and completion of a last will and testament. However, there are certain things that every last will and testament should include. As the person creating it, you should use your full legal name and your full address. You will also want to mention the name of your spouse or domestic partner, if you have one, and your biological and / or adopted children. You’ll want to address your assets in some way. This could be as simple as stating you leave all of your assets to one specific person or break it up into a certain percentage.
For example, if you want to leave the entirety of your estate to four people, you could choose to leave each with 25% or break it into any percentage you wish. You can also leave certain assets to certain people. If you have minor children, you will want to name a guardian. You may also want to elect an alternative guardian for the possibility of your original guardian being unable or unwilling to serve in that capacity. You can also specify in your last will and testament individuals that you’ve chosen not to leave assets to although they may be entitled to a portion of your estate according to the law.
To execute your last will and testament, you’ll need to follow the laws in the state in which you are a resident. You may be required to sign the document in front of both a notary and at least two witnesses.