Every person that owns any property or furnishings should have a will. A will is a legal document that states how possessions should be distributed after death. Many young people avoid making a will because they don’t like talking about death and just don’t see a need. They are too young to die and have too little that they own.
But even young parents need to think about what will happen to their children if an unexpected event occurs, rather than leaving this decision to the courts. This is extremely important to protect those that you love. You can choose an executor who can make sure that your wishes are taken care of.
Most Americans do understand the basic purpose of a last will and testament, but what about the fine print? It is important to know what a will can transfer to beneficiaries and additional instructions it can legally dictate.
A will can pass property or assets to survivors other than those that would receive them under intestacy laws, reports the Boston Globe. An intestacy law refers to the legal beneficiary, such as a spouse or children, that would receive assets if a will were not in place. A will can also specify a guardian or custodian to manage the assets of minor children, the Globe reports.
A will can also establish certain types of trusts for beneficiaries, but cannot release non-probate assets, which consist of life insurance policies, pension accounts, annuities and CD or money market accounts.
Americans who maintain probate assets (included in a will) and non-probate assets should carefully examine all documents to ensure everything is updated and in order. This is especially true for policies such as life insurance that cannot be relinquished to anyone other than the beneficiary listed on the policy, even if the policyholder’s will says otherwise.
Every state has its own set of rules when considering a will valid so it is also important to talk with someone who knows what is legal in your state. For example, depending on the state in which you live, a will may not need to be notarized by a notary public.
Once your will is complete and signed by you and your witnesses, always store it in a safe place and make sure others, including your executor, know where it is located.