What happens to our hard-earned properties and assets after we die? It is important to make sure that all our finances, assets, bank accounts, life insurance policy benefits, real estate properties, retirement accounts, and other investments will be left in good hands after we die. This is why we need to create a “last will and testament” beforehand.

A will is considered as a legal document that declares your wishes to allocate all your assets and personal property after death. You, as the testator or author of will, should clearly state your plans on how and what to distribute to your chosen beneficiaries and heirs. You have to make decisions on how you plan on distributing your hard-earned possessions to your family.

It is mentally challenging to visualize one’s death, however, creating a will ahead of time will give you peace of mind knowing that you will be able to equally distribute your assets to your family. Your will is the key to ensure that everything that you will leave behind when you die will be managed and handled accordingly.

If you can write a will before you pass away, the court will honor your wishes and follow what you wrote in your will. All your assets including your house, car, furniture, jewelry, clothing, household items, insurance policies, and real estate properties will be distributed to your chosen heir, family member, successor, beneficiary, or loved one, according to your wish after your time of death. Some testators make a will that is intended to express their gratitude and love for their family and friends. A properly fulfilled will lightens the grieving process of the bereaved family.

Last Will The length of your will depends on your preference and the magnitude of your estate. To begin with, the testator usually assigns the devisees and the estate. You may write specific instructions as to how you want things to be done according to your plans. You can provide directives on how you want your children to take care of, which gifts you want to donate to charities, and how you want to form your trusts. Our Troy MI estate planning attorneys can help you.

The requirements on how to create a will differ depending on the jurisdiction. The usual formalities of writing a will require that the details of which should be handwritten with the affixed signature of the testator signed in the presence of witnesses. A properly implemented will and testament remain valid unless it will be replaced or revoked by a legal subsequent will. A will can be amended using “codicils” without the need to rewrite it.

The testator should be aware of the legal limitations of making a will. You will not be allowed to simply do anything that you want. For instance, some laws prohibit the deceased person from disowning spouses, children, and grandchildren. A married couple is not allowed to utterly disown his or her surviving spouse without formal consent, normally through a nuptial agreement. In some states, the living spouse has the power to demand a preset estate plan percentage if she or he is not satisfied with the legal will. If you wish to disinherit non-dependent children, you need to state it clearly in your will to prevent the circumstance of legal problems and confusion.

In writing last wills, the testator shall designate and appoint a competent “executor” to carry out the will on his or her behalf. There are no specific restrictions in choosing an executor so you may choose any of your family members that you trust. You need to inform your chosen executor or personal representative ahead of time regarding his or her duties and obligations before you die. The executor of a will is responsible for managing your properties, real estate, life insurance policies, assets, debts to be collected, tax records, tax savings, and court documents.  

Approximately 70% of the American population do not know the importance of having a will. If an individual dies without leaving a will behind, all his or her assets and properties will be divided by the state or probate court under the laws of intestate succession. This legal process is often time-consuming, costly, and complicated. As such,  getting an estate planning lawyer is a wise decision.

The court initially pays the unsettled debts and covers the death expenses. The basis of this rule is the presence of the testator’s living spouse or child. If unmarried, the testator’s estate is expected to be equally divided among the distant relatives. If a person dies intestate, the people who may be unknown to the deceased person might receive shares of the estate. Intestacy laws solely recognize relatives by blood; therefore, close friends or even charitable institutions will not receive anything. If there are no immediate relatives found, the estate will automatically go to the government. This is the reason why avoidance of dying intestate is important.

We have been spending our time working, saving, and investing for our future. Let us not waste our time and effort. We are now aware of the disadvantage of not having a will. In this case, it is advisable to write wills and testaments ahead of time under the guidance of a skilled attorney. For legal help, do not hesitate to consult our experienced lawyers at Entrusted Estate Law Firm.  We will help you achieve peace of mind in preparing a will for you, your family, and loved ones ahead of time in case of an unexpected death. Contact our Michigan estate planning attorneys today!