Anyone who owns property or furnishings should have a will. A will is a legal document that specifies how property should be distributed following death. Many young people avoid making a will because they dislike discussing death and don’t see the point. They are too young to die and own far too little.
However, even young parents should consider what will happen to their children in the event of an unexpected event, rather than leaving this decision to the courts. This is critical for safeguarding those you care about. You can appoint an executor to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
The general purpose of a last will and testament is understood by the majority of Americans, but what about the fine print? It is critical to understand what a will can transfer to beneficiaries and what additional instructions it can legally impose.
According to the Boston Globe, a will can leave property or assets to survivors other than those who would inherit them under intestacy laws. An intestacy law refers to the legal beneficiary, such as a spouse or children, who would receive assets in the absence of a will. According to the Globe, a will can also name a guardian or custodian to manage the assets of minor children.
A will can also create trusts for beneficiaries, but it cannot release non-probate assets such as life insurance policies, pension plans, annuities, and CD or money market accounts.
Americans who have probate assets (assets included in a will) and non-probate assets should carefully review all documents to ensure they are up to date-and in order. This is especially true for policies like life insurance, which cannot be transferred to anyone other than the named beneficiary, even if the policyholder’s will states otherwise.
Every state has its own set of rules for determining the validity of a will, so it is also important to consult with someone who knows what is legal in your state. A will, for example, may not need to be notarized by a notary public depending on where you live.
Once your will has been completed and signed by you and your witnesses, keep it in a secure location and make sure others, including your executor, know where it is.