Over the past few weeks, I’ve been discussing wills on Facebook Live, so you may be wondering how much more can I say. August is National Make a Will Month, and in case you have missed my live broadcasts, I don’t want to miss this opportunity to stress its importance to anyone who is still on the fence.

Let’s breakdown what a will is and what it does. A will is a legal document that is used to transfer assets at death. It states who you want to receive your assets after you die, names the person you select to make decisions for you when you pass, and name who’s in charge of your probate estate -this person is called your Personal Representative or Executor.

A will can also name a guardian for your underage children, and do other things such as waiver limitations on what your estate can pay for your funeral and court requirements for personal representative bond.

While this is all valuable information, let’s dig a little deeper.

Here are five (5) things having a Will can accomplish:

1) Ease the burden of a difficult time.

We all know losing a loved one is hard. The last thing anyone wants to deal with during this time is possibly arguing with family members over belongings and property. Having a Will keeps your loved ones from having to deal with that extra trouble during times of grievance. 

 

2) Minimize estate taxes.

Another reason to have a will is that it allows you to minimize your estate taxes. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.

 

3) Gifting and donating to organizations of your choice 

Most people only think of wills in terms of family and friends, but you can also plan to give to a cause that is important to you.

 

4) Controls who receive your assets 

Whether it’s money, a car, or even furniture, you should decide who receives your belongings after you die, not the state. The state never considers those not related to you, like close friends or mentors, as you would in your planning. Often the biggest family fights are not over money, but that special vase or serving dish; tangible items that carry sentimental value. Your will instructs who gets your collections, your jewelry, or whatever to cut down on family conflicts. A Will ensures your loved ones receive the assets when you want and how you want.

 

5) Tomorrow is not promised 

Procrastination (outside of fear) is the most common reason for not having a will. Far too often, people (or their loved ones) realize the necessity of a will too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs. As I like to say, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. It is always best to be prepared.

While there are more than five reasons that you should have a Will created, this is a great start. And what better time to start than during make a Will month, am I right?

 

Contact us today to get started:  www.HendersonLaw4God.com/contact-us

 

*This article is provided as educational information, not legal advice. Our law firm makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. The distribution or acceptance of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship with our law firm.

Movies, television, and books like to present wills in dramatic ways–handwritten notes, videos, deathbed utterances–but what makes a will valid? The law varies depending on what state you live in, but there are some basic rules. 

The legal requirements for a will are simple. For your will to be valid, you must know what property you have and what it means to leave it to someone, then sign and date the document and have it witnessed according to the laws of your state. Most states require two witnesses to watch you sign the will and then sign as witnesses. Usually one of the witnesses can be the lawyer who drafted the will. Most states do not allow beneficiaries under the will to be witnesses. 

Some states allow you to make a handwritten will, called a “holographic” will. This will does not need to be witnessed, but it is much more likely to be challenged after you die. Some states require that the entire will be in your handwriting; others call for just the important portions to be in your handwriting. The writing must indicate your intent to make a will and clearly describe the property being given away. Some states require the will to be dated and signed. 

Very few states allow an “oral” will (called a “nuncupative” will). The states that allow this type of will have very specific requirements for when it is valid. For example, Indiana only accepts an oral will if it is made by someone in imminent peril of death who then dies as a result of the peril. States may require two witnesses, and for the will to be reduced to writing soon after the declaration. There also may be a limit to the amount of property someone can dispose of with an oral will. 

Video wills are not recognized as a form of will in any state. States may recognize a video will as a valid oral will if it meets all the requirements, but a video will, by itself, is not a valid will. However, using video to record a will signing can be a good method to prevent a will contest. A video recording of the will signing allows your family members and the court to see that you are freely signing the will and makes it more difficult to argue that you did not have the requisite mental capacity to agree to the will.

The best way to make sure your will is considered valid is to consult with Attorney Henderson. To contact our firm, call 301-220-4463, M-F, 9 am to 5:30 pm EST.

Tags: estate planning, estate planning attorney, estate planning lawyer, will, Maryland estate planning attorney, written will, diy will, estate planning law.

*This article is provided as legal information, not legal advice and our law firm makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in in this article. The distribution or acceptance of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship with our law firm.