What is a Last Will and Testament?
It is important to make sure that all our assets, finances, 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 credible Surprise last will and testament lawyer can guide you on how to write a will and prepare a good estate plan before you pass away.
A will is a legal document that states your wishes on how you want to distribute your assets after death. This document is a critical part of an estate plan. When you write a last will and testament, you decide about the distribution of your property, guardianship of your children, and designate a person (executor) who carries out your wishes after you die.
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. A concise will may also help your family avoid a lengthy probate process. The clearer your wishes, the simpler the process will be. You can also use your will to disinherit any individual you do not wish to benefit from your death.
What Information Should a Will Contain?
Having a last will and testament ensures your wishes will be followed and your loved ones are taken care of after your death. Your will should include more than just the distribution of your assets. After you die, your will guides many important decisions. A skilled last will and testament attorney in Surprise AZ can help you determine what your will should cover.
List Your Significant Assets
Make a list of significant assets you will want to leave to your loved ones. Your will should state who gets what from your assets and property. It should cover all the things you own such as home, car, cash, furniture, jewelry, and other investments. When listing your assets, remember you can only distribute property you own solely. If you are married, the jointly owned asset will not form part of your will.
Name Your Beneficiaries
One of the main components of a will is what assets you want to bequeath and who should get them. When you write your last will and testament, think about who among your loved ones will be your beneficiaries and heirs. The beneficiary of your will can be a family member, friend, charity, business, or even a trust. Once you have decided who to name as your beneficiaries, you must be able to provide their names and contact details. It is also advisable to name contingent beneficiaries in case the primary beneficiary dies before you do.
Choose a Guardian
If you and your spouse pass away, you must name a person who will act as the guardian of your minor children. The guardian will have to carry out parental responsibilities regarding the minor children’s support, care, and education. This will ensure that your children are cared for in a manner of which you approve. In addition, it is highly advisable to speak to the guardians in advance to confirm if they would be willing to take the responsibility of guardianship. Without a will that names a guardian, the family court will be left to decide who should raise your children.
Name a Conservator
In your last will and testament, you may appoint a conservator for your children under the age of 18. A conservator is responsible for handling the finances of your minor children. This includes managing the minor children’s assets and property and using them to pay for the minor children’s care, support and education. You may also have the option to appoint the same person as your guardian and conservator. Conservatorship and guardianship are generally not the same, but one person can serve in both roles.
Appoint an Executor
You’ll need an executor, or personal representative, to carry out the terms of your will. Your executor will administer your estate and carry out multiple duties after your death. He or she is responsible for registering your death, arranging the funeral, valuing the estate, gathering your assets, distributing property to your heir and beneficiaries, opening probate (if necessary), completing your last tax return, and paying any inheritance taxes and debts of your estate.
Choosing who to name as executor in your last will and testament is an important decision. This role should not be considered lightly. It is advisable to appoint a person who can handle the legal and practical responsibilities of being an executor. Before designating an executor, you must ensure that this person will be up to the task of handling your estate. Your executor must be open to accepting the responsibility. If there is no executor named in your will, the court may have to name someone for you.
What Happens if You Don’t Have a Will?
When a person dies without a will, it is said that they have died intestate. In this case, you will have no control over the most important decisions after you die. You won’t be able to choose who inherits your assets or manages your estate. You will not be able to decide who should care for your minor children. Dying intestate may also have tax consequences. Therefore, it is important to have a properly prepared will to reduce estate tax liability. A reliable Surprise last will and testament attorney can help you understand the disadvantages of not having a will. o
If you die without leaving a will behind, all your assets and properties will be divided by the state or probate court under the laws of intestate succession. The intestacy laws may vary depending on whether you were single or married, or had children. The order of succession usually prioritizes your surviving spouse or domestic partner, followed by your children, then parents, siblings, and extended family members. This legal process is often time-consuming, costly, and complicated. Dying without a will can waste your loved one’s time and money, as well as cause unnecessary stress while grieving. It will be difficult for your family members to deal with these legal issues after you die.
Hire an Experienced Surprise Last Will and Testament Attorney Now!
Having a will comes with a lot of benefits for you and your loved ones. With a will, your final wishes will be properly carried out when you die. You get to decide who inherits your property – not the laws of your state. You can ensure your children are left in the best possible care with someone you know and trust. You can choose a person who will manage your estate – not the court. In addition, having a will can help avoid the occurrence of family fights and misunderstandings in managing your estate.
Creating a last will and testament can be overwhelming, emotional, and stressful. Given the complex nature of estate planning, consulting our competent Surprise last will and testament attorneys at Dodds Law Firm can make things less complicated. Our estate planning law firm will ensure your loved ones and property are protected. We will help you write a will according to your best interests and in compliance with the estate planning laws in Arizona. We will be with you every step of the way.
Schedule an initial consultation now by dialing 623-323-9056.