Tag Archives: Will
Planning your estate is among the most crucial steps to ensure that your healthcare and property wishes will be honored upon your death. A basic estate plan involves a will, but what exactly is this document?
What is a Will?
A will is a legal, written document that will allow you to:
- Specify individuals and organization you’ve chosen to receive your property — real estate and personal assets.
- Specify a person you wish to act as guardian for your children below 18 if there’s no other surviving parent.
- Specify a “personal representative” and an alternate to manage your affairs.
- Minimize or avoid taxes your family or your estate owes in special circumstances.
- Plan for specific provisions, usually through a trust, for specific care requirements of your surviving, minor children or family members.
- Avoid issues that could crop up if you pass away without a will.
All adults who have properties in their possession, as well as those with a spouse or family, must consider making a will. Even if your property is not in the millions or billions, it’s recommended that you write a will as long as you have personal assets like stocks or cash.
Other Important Things to Know about Wills
In the event that you die without a will, you’ll be considered to have passed away “intestate”. This means the court will divide your property based on Utah intestate law and appoint an administrator of your affairs. After paying off your administrative and funeral fees, debts, and taxes, your remaining property will be distributed among family members.
You can modify or revoke your will. Modifications are normally made though a “codicil” document, which acts a supplement to your original will. To ensure that your modifications will be legally valid, talk to an estate planning lawyer in Utah.
While you can make your own will, the state recommends that you have a lawyer prepare it for you — or at least look over it — because of the complex laws regarding asset distribution.
Life is short. This fact might have kept you up at night, thinking who will inherit your estate when you pass away. While they may be purely sentimental or not, writing them down on your will puts your decisions in power even after passing on.
One of the benefits of estate planning is avoiding the drama and trouble of conflicting interests among your family members and other beneficiaries. If you were, however, to die without a will, then the state will determine how your properties are to be distributed and who will inherit what.
While the power to determine what happens to your estate is in the testator (your hands), it is not without limitations. Make sure to remember the following limitations and exceptions regarding your will:
Designating an Executor
An Executor is the person assigned by the testator to carry out the will. If you are unable to designate one, then the state has the right to appoint one.
While it is not required to hire a lawyer when creating a will, their legal advice and guidance for estate planning may assure the testator that all grounds are covered. This keeps the state’s hands off your properties.
If you have made a will and have decided to change some aspects after being witnessed and signed, crossing them out invalidates its power. Changing the terms of your will requires the creation of a new document altogether.
Without witnesses and validation, the power of distributing your estate is turned over to the state.
Carrying Out the Will
When writing your will, it is best to be as specific and detailed as possible. Not doing so will lead to the various interpretations of different people involved or mentioned. Moreover, the instruction becomes susceptible to modifications.
By writing a letter of instruction on how the will is to be carried out, loopholes are addressed and your wishes are followed without trouble or misunderstanding.
Use the power of your will to get things done your way. Keep these limits in mind when you write your will, and make sure to seek legal counsel for a smooth process.