Wills are essential for estate planning. They allow you to determine where your property goes after your death and can provide you peace of mind during your lifetime.
State laws vary, but can only be signed by an adult of sound mind, called a “testator.” This person then selects an executor to distribute the estate when the will goes into effect.
The type of will you need will depend on your situation and what you hope to accomplish.
The most often-used wills are simple, joint, living, or testamentary. To help you decide which is best for you, here is a short description of what each does.
When most people think “will,” they think of a simple will. In it, you can specify who will inherit your property and appoint a guardian for any minor children. A straightforward will can be written relatively quickly, but you may also wish to seek legal counsel. Nevertheless, many online will forms with a simple will format can offer a helpful framework.
A joint will is signed by two or more individuals, one for each testator. In most cases, spouses create a joint will or “mirror will” that leaves everything to the other spouse. Even after the passing of one of the testators, the terms of a joint will, including the executor, beneficiaries, and other clauses, cannot be altered. Joint wills can be problematic for the surviving spouse because of this rigidity, as their wishes may change.
A living will has nothing to do with your estate’s distribution. In the case of incapacitation, a living will lets you choose your medical treatments. In it, you can also identify an individual empowered to make decisions on your behalf. In certain instances, an advance healthcare directive includes a living will and a healthcare power of attorney or proxy. Check your state’s rules on this for details.
A testamentary trust transfers assets to your beneficiaries and names a trustee. This is useful if your recipients are underage or cannot handle assets independently. You can put assets in trust and set conditions on the inheritance, such as age or other variables.
It should be noted that other wills can all be valid, and you can have more than one type of will at once. For instance, a simple and living will can coexist legally because they have entirely different goals.
When deciding on the best type of will for you, the assistance of an experienced estate-planning attorney can be invaluable. They will ensure that everything has been done correctly and will work to benefit your loved ones in the future.
You can be confident that you’ll be able to handle your affairs without worry, thanks to the expert teams at Heban, Murphree & Lewandowski, LLC. Wevare waiting to answer your questions and walk you through the process of determining what type of will works best for you and how to draw it up. Call now or fill out a form!