What is a Will?
If you think you’re too young or “too poor” to make a last will and testament, you should think again. Regardless of your age or the number and amount of assets you own, a will may be one of the most important legal documents you’ll ever have your attorney draft for you.
Your will is a legally binding document that lets you do the following:
- Name your desired beneficiaries, i.e., the people, pets, or entities you want to inherit your assets when you die
- Designate which asset(s) you want which beneficiary to receive
- Give instructions as to how and when your beneficiaries will receive those assets
- Name a guardian or guardians of your minor children if you should die before they reach their respective ages of majority
- Name the executor, i.e., personal representative, who you want to make sure your wishes are carried out after you die
Types of Wills
You have many choices of the type of will you can have, including the following:
- Simple will
- Joint will with your spouse or legal partner
- The mirror will often be called a reciprocal will, of your spouse’s or legal partner’s will
- Holographic, i.e., handwritten, will
- Nuncupative, i.e., oral, will
- Deathbed will
Keep in mind that some states disallow holographic and oral wills. Even if your state allows them, however, they’re a bad idea. Why? Because it is too easy for someone to challenge them in court. If the challenger(s) wins the challenge, the court may set aside the whole will and distribute your property and assets in a completely different manner than you intended.
The same is true of a deathbed will. Here the challenge likely would be that you lacked the testamentary capacity to make a will. In other words, the challenger(s) would claim that you were too ill or injured to be able to think clearly when making your deathbed will.
Each state requires that you do certain things to make your written will legal. In general, you must have two witnesses. They need not read the will, but they must know that it is, in fact, a will lawyer from a law firm like Yee Law Group, PC. He or she can not only advise you which type of will best serve your needs and desires but also draft it and make sure it’s properly executed.