A will is one of the many documents included in an estate plan. It’s often the first document people make.
You may not fully understand how a will works and why you need one. Here’s what you should know:
1. Why is a will important?
By making a will, you can help your grieving family members understand your last wishes. For example, a will can help establish how your assets are distributed after you pass away. You can name beneficiaries to inherit from your estate.
2. When should you make a will?
There’s usually no better time to make a will than now. People who don’t make a will end up dying intestate. Intestate simply means that there was no will made and the deceased’s last wishes weren’t known. When this happens, the state will take over an estate and distribute assets to the best of its ability. This likely isn’t the best option for people who want assets to go to special loved ones.
3. Is a trust better than a will?
When making an estate plan, you have the option to make a trust. A trust can be better than a will since it can help avoid unnecessary estate taxes and bypass probate. Trusts and wills are often used together.
4. What’s an executor of the estate?
In your will, you’ll have to name an executor of your estate. The executor will be in charge of directing how your estate is handled according to your last wishes. For example, they’ll have to collect death certificates, contract heirs, pay your debts, file your final taxes and distribute your assets.
5. Can you draft a will by hand?
Wills are highly complicated legal documents. While some people do draft their own will, it doesn’t mean it’s valid. It’s far wiser to seek legal help if you’re considering making an estate plan than to try to handle this job on your own.