If a person dies without a valid will, he or she dies intestate intstate, which means that the state becomes the executor. When settling the estate, the state decides how the property is distributed and who is paid first, regardless of the family`s situation. If you die without a will, the state oversees the distribution of your assets, which it usually distributes according to a set formula. If a will has not been notarized, it does not mean that it is invalid. However, this can slow down the probate process, as the surrogate may need to take more steps to authenticate the will. A letter of instruction, which is not legally binding in some states, can be written more informally than a will and can go into detail about what goes to whom. You can also provide details on a number of things that will help your executor settle your estate, including account numbers, passwords, and even funeral instructions. A will also allows you to pass assets on to a charity (or charities) of your choice. If you want to bequeath assets to an institution or organization, a will can ensure that your wishes are fulfilled. Another type of will, a paid will, is used in conjunction with the creation of a trust in which your assets flow. (See “Wills and Trusts” below.) A necessary part of any will is identifying a trustworthy person to ensure that the terms of your will are respected. The executor is responsible for guiding your estate through the probate process and ensuring that your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries in accordance with the will. An executor can be a professional, family member or friend.

If your estate is simple enough, a professional may not be necessary. To learn more about the specifics of wills, attend a FREE seminar by clicking on this link. Space is limited. Not all states require a will to be notarized, but some do. You can also ask your witnesses to sign a so-called affidavit in the presence of a notary. This affidavit can speed up the probate process because it is unlikely that your witnesses will be summoned to court by a judge to validate their signatures and the authenticity of the will. Changing your will is easy. They simply write a new testament to replace the old one, or make an addition with a change known as a codicil. Because of the seriousness of codicils and their power to amend the entire will, two witnesses are generally required to sign when a codicil is added, as when the original will was made.

However, some states have relaxed legal requirements for codicils and now allow them to be certified with a notary public. This most basic condition is described in NJRS § 3B:3-1, which states that any person of sound mind who is at least 18 years of age has the right to make a will. To be valid, a will must be signed by the testator. Signatures on a testator`s deathbed can be as valid as any other signature, provided the person signing the will is able to do so, as described above. Certain types of property, including certain insurance policies and retirement accounts, are generally not covered by wills. You should have listed the beneficiaries when you purchased the policies or opened the accounts. Check to see if you don`t remember and be sure to keep beneficiaries informed, as what you saved when you died should determine who receives these assets. Assets: A will sets out where and how your property or personal property will go to your heirs.

It gives you the opportunity to specify who receives what from your estate. Even if you have a so-called revocable life trust, in which you can invest the majority of your assets, you still need a so-called transfer will. In addition to allowing you to appoint a guardian for your children, a transfer ensures that all the assets you wanted to invest in the trust are invested in it. even if you can`t rename some of them before you die. There is one main difference between a will and a trust. A trust comes into effect as soon as it is created and signed, but a will does so after your death. There are other differences, including: Where do I keep my will? An probate court usually needs your original will before they can process your estate, so it`s important to keep the document secure while still accessible. If you put the will in a safe that only you can enter, your family may need to apply for a court order to access it.

A waterproof and fireproof safe in your home is a good alternative. Your lawyer or someone you trust should keep signed copies in case the original is destroyed. Signed copies may be used to determine your intentions. However, the lack of an original will can complicate matters, and without it, there is no guarantee that your estate will be settled as you had hoped. How often should a will be updated? Digital estate elements (The advent of technology has introduced a new concept in estate planning: the idea of “digital wealth” that includes things you`ve purchased digitally, like your cloud-based accounts, iTunes purchases, eBooks, videos, and more. While these may not be effectively included in a will, you may note a “digital executor” who has expressed the authority to manage your digital accounts) In its simplest form, a well-prepared will is a legal document that ensures you protect your property, surviving spouse and heirs after your death. By explicitly describing what you want in the future, your last wishes will not be ignored when others try to intervene. If you have a strong, well-planned will, it can only be challenged on very specific and defined legal grounds, such as: While there are many types of wills, there are some main elements that are likely to include them all. The three conditions of validity of a will are intended to ensure the authenticity of the will and the reflection of the testator`s will. Life insurance (You have designated a beneficiary for individual life insurance policies.) There are several types of wills that are valid and legal, and the type you choose depends on several factors, including the size or complexity of your estate. If you wish to bequeath certain personal assets to certain heirs, indicate this in your will. In addition, you can create a separate document called a letter of instruction, which you must keep with your will.

You can name your spouse, an adult child or another trusted friend or relative as your executor. If your business is complicated, it may make more sense to appoint a lawyer or someone with legal and financial expertise. You can also appoint joint executors, such as: Your spouse or partner and your lawyer. Whether you have your will drafted by an estate planning lawyer, use an online service, or create a self-made will, the requirements of a valid will will apply. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have met all the requirements of your jurisdiction, otherwise you risk your will being just another piece of paper. Having a will makes things easier for a family. If there is a will, the property is distributed according to the wishes of the deceased by his executor. An probate court usually needs access to your original will before it can process your estate. It is therefore important to keep the document where it is secure but accessible. Avoid keeping it in a safe or other place where your family may need a court order to access it.

A waterproof and fireproof safe in your home is a good alternative. Some people think that only the very rich or those with complicated assets need a will. However, there are many good reasons to have a will. There is no law or rule against writing your own will, but the likelihood that you will create something that is legally sound, effective and conclusive is very low. There are also requirements that vary from state to state, and if not met adequately, it can potentially result in an invalid will. This type of will is usually executed by a married or committed couple. After the death of one party, the remaining party is bound by the terms of mutual will. The laws governing wills vary from state to state.

If you are not familiar with them, you should consult a lawyer or a competent estate planner in your area. Before you do that, refresh these 10 things you should know about writing a will.