As I get through the past couple of weeks I realize that the question, “Do you have a living Will?” is probably more importance than I ever thought before. So what does this mean. I have sat down for the past 2 days looking at my finances, asset, and what I owe, and determining what needs to be done.
Having gone through my parents Will and the headaches I incured due to the way it was set up, I know it has to be based on my children and grand children. I have set up a seperate set of paperwork if I become incompacitated so that my finances are taken care of prior to my death.
I never thought I would need to write one, just like 401k, investing, and so on. Each thing as it came up I realized as time was ticking on that I was missing the mark. Well now at 54, almost 55 I realize a single mother of 3 young adults and 2 grandsons I need to secure my property and any finances for them so they don’t have a mess to clear up with the state.
I was lucky enough to get legal service with my job so I was able to do a will with them.
I am part of AARP now and I went to find more information I thought would be useful for this blog. I hope this information will help anyone recognize that no matter the age it is important to have a plan laid out for those that are left behind so that it eliminates the problems with family and the courts.
If You Don’t Have a Will
If you die without a will (a condition called “intestate”) a probate court will appoint an administrator to direct and manage your estate. The administrator’s duties can include distributing your assets and naming guardians for your children. Be aware that the administrator is guided by local laws, not your wishes, when he or she makes decisions about your estate.
The court may require that the administrator be bonded to ensure that he or she properly performs the required duties. Your estate will pay the bonding fee, the administrator’s fees, and other legal fees.
Don’t Do It Yourself
Don’t be tempted to write your own will. To be valid, a will must comply strictly with the law in your state. The law might require that a will contain specific language, be signed in a particular way, and have a certain number of witnesses.
Only about half the states recognize homemade wills. Even in these states, your DIY will may not stand up in court if it contains language that could be easily misunderstood. If a disgruntled family member attacks your homemade will in court, he or she could have the entire document declared invalid. If this happens, the state would distribute your property as if you did not have a will.
Where Should I Keep My Will?
Generally, you don’t need to register your will. Your executor will do so with the register of wills in the county where you were living when you died. Keep your will in the same place you keep other important papers.
Be sure to choose a safe place where someone else can find the will after your death. Someone you trust should know that the will exists and where it is located.
Some people keep their wills in safe-deposit boxes. Keep in mind that if the will contains provisions which must be known immediately upon your death, a safe-deposit box may not be the best place to keep it. This is because it may be time-consuming for someone whose name is not on the safe-deposit box to gain access to it.
What Is a Self-Proving Will?
A self-proving will has, in addition to the signatures of the testator (you) and witnesses, a notary public’s affidavit attesting to the validity of all the signatures. The affidavit eliminates the need to verify the signatures at the time of probate. In most states, it is not necessary to have a self-proving will for it to be legally effective; however, it is certainly advisable.