At some point in life, almost everyone has encountered a will. Whether it’s serving as an executor, rummaging through drawers to find a lost will, or even driving mom and dad to a lawyer’s office to draft one, most people are familiar with the idea of a will. But what is a will actually?
Black’s Law Dictionary® defines a will as “a document by which a person directs his or her estate to be distributed upon death.” To put it more simply, a will dictates what you want done with your “stuff” when you die. The problem with that definition, however, lies in its simplicity. A will can do, and does, so much more.
With a will, you may leave gifts in different manners, such as a gift of cash, real property, or a particular piece of personal property like jewelry or a family heirloom. If you feel as though the person you are giving a gift to may not be responsible enough to handle it, you may establish a trust, allowing a third party to hold the property for their benefit.
A will also nominates someone to act as your executor. The executor is tasked with marshalling your property and distributing it according to the terms of your will. Once a probate case is filed, the Judge will confirm the person you nominate as executor as long as the person is competent to fulfill the role.
Your will can also nominate a guardian to take custody of your minor children. This is a very important decision, as the last thing most parents want is a fight over their children, or any uncertainty, after a tragic accident.
A will can accomplish many tasks, but perhaps most importantly, it provides certainty in trying times.
If you would like the opportunity to have a more personal conversation with us regarding the benefits of having a will as part of your estate planning, feel free to contact our office to set up your one hour free consultation. We look forward to working with you.