What is a will and why should you make it? Is it costly?
Are you keen on ensuring that all your prized assets are placed in safe custody after your death? If that is what you are looking for, preparing a will and trust could ensure that your child doesn't get deprived of their rights in your absence.
You can use our services to create wills.
How can I help you in making a will?
Once you contact us:
- You will work with one of my assistants, who will review your assets.
- I will check the file and contact you.
- I will make sure that your will conforms to your state laws.
- I can provide you with legal advice to reduce the risk of challenges to your will.
- I can explain to you various strategies for reducing tax implications of your loved ones.
- You can create a will that is legally binding. By doing so, your loved ones are protected, and your wishes are carried out even in your absence.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document that depicts your wish to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries and take care of minor children, if any.
If you pass away without creating a will, your wishes won’t be carried out. Eventually, your children may be deprived of their rights in your absence.
When you write a will, you become the testator. You will have the complete authority to change the beneficiaries during your lifetime. Preparing your will has to follow your state’s rules. Otherwise, the will won’t be valid.
Why are wills important?
According to intestacy law, your property must be distributed according to your state laws if you die without a will. All estates are subject to probate for distribution of assets. But when you don’t have a will, the process of distributing your assets can be time-consuming and expensive.
So, creating a will can make things easier for your loved ones as it helps to:
- Name an executor who will manage your estate
- Decide who will be the beneficiaries
- Name guardian of your minor children
- Decide a caretaker for your pets
- Designate a property manager who will take care of your children’s property
1. How long is a will valid?
A will is valid forever until you revoke it, usually by writing a new will.
2. Can I change my will?
Yes, you can. Usually, people change their will under the following circumstances:
- Birth of a new baby
- After acquiring new assets
- Change of mind
3. What are the different types of wills?
The most common types of wills are:
- Living Will
- Testamentary Trust Will
- Pour-Over Will
- Simple Will
- Joint Will
- Deathbed Will
- Online Will
- Holographic Will
- Nuncupative Will
4. Where should I store my will?
The safest option would be to keep the original copy of your will with your attorney. If you want to keep your will at home, I suggest you keep it in a fireproof and waterproof metal box. You can also provide a copy of your will to the executor as well.
5. Do I need to have a minimum amount of assets to create a will?
No, there are no criteria for creating a will. You can create a will for distributing your assets worth $20 or $20 million to the beneficiaries.
6. What is the difference between a living will and a last will?
A living will, also known as an advance directive, states the kind of medical treatment a person wants to receive in a medical emergency.
On the other hand, the last will directs the division of property amongst the will’s beneficiaries. The last will becomes effective after the death of the testator.
7. Do all wills go through probate?
Probate is a standard legal procedure, and most will pass through it. The state laws, the kind of property you have, and how you own that property determine if your will needs to go through probate.
However, you can avoid probate and save money on legal fees and estate taxes with proper planning.
8. Can I make a will at home?
Yes, you can create a will yourself. But make sure you abide by the rules of your state. If a court finds your will invalid, there can be severe consequences for the inheritance of your assets.
9. Is it possible to make a will online?
Yes, you can make a will online. It is legal and quite popular nowadays. But if you make one mistake, your family will suffer. You won't be there to rectify your mistake. That's why it is best to consult an attorney when you make a will or an estate plan.
10. Are wills state specific?
Wills are state-specific documents. Each state has its own set of rules. So, if you're moving to another state, it's best to get your will reviewed by an attorney there.
11. Do I need to notarize my will?
If your will is legally executed, you don't need to notarize your will for validation.
But you can include an optional “self-proving affidavit” and make your will notarized. By doing so, it can help the probate process faster.
12. What is the cost of making a will?
The cost of making a will depends on the way you decide to make it. You can download free templates and prepare a will without paying a penny. Or, you can consult an attorney to prepare a will to your specifications.
Usually, it costs between $150 and $600 to make a will. The average cost is around $375. Your attorney may charge you an hourly rate if complications arise.
If you need a power of attorney and associated estate planning documents with your will, you may have to pay an additional $1000 to $1500.
13. Do I need an attorney's guidance while making a will?
Well, making a will is a straightforward process. But hiring an attorney is the best way to avoid complications in certain situations like:
- Your assets are enough that your estate may be subject to estate tax.
- You have many beneficiaries.
- You have a question regarding your ownership share of a small business.
- You want to make arrangements for the long-term care of a beneficiary. For example, you can set up a trust for an incapacitated or disadvantaged child.
- You are concerned that the will may be contested. Having a lawyer prepare the will, and witness it, reduces the chances of a successful claim.
- You wish to disinherit someone from your property and designate someone else as the inheritor of that property. An attorney can show you the correct legal procedure.
- You would feel more confident in your will if a lawyer reviews it.
14. How are wills different from trusts?
Let’s look at an overview of the difference between wills and trusts:
|A legal document that dictates who will inherit your property after your death.||A legal document that instructs how your property will be distributed before or after your death.|
|It appoints an executor to carry out your last wish.||It appoints a trustee who will hold the legal title of the said property for the beneficiary.|
|Cover all the properties that are in your name.||Cover the properties that have been put into the trust.|
|Require probate where the court verifies the validity of the will and ensures its proper execution.||Don't require probate, and so the court is not involved.|
|Become public records.||Trusts are private and confidential.|
|It can be time-consuming.||Requires less time.|
|Can be revoked before your demise.||In the case of revocable living trusts, it's possible to revoke or modify them without the consent of the beneficiaries. An irrevocable trust can't be revoked once it's executed.|
15. Is it possible to have both a will and a trust?
Yes, you can have both a will and a trust. But not everyone makes both of them. If you have properties in a trust and have minor children, you can create both a will and a trust.
16. Can I leave instructions in my will to pay off debts?
If you pass away without repaying debts, your estate will be responsible to take care of any remaining debt. The executor will use the estate assets to pay off the debts before handing them over to your beneficiaries.
So, you can choose which assets the executor should use to pay off your debt obligations. I would suggest you choose liquid assets over tangible assets, as they are easily converted into cash at full value.
However, if you live in one of the community property states, your spouse may have to use community property to pay off debts. In that case, I would advise you to settle debts during your lifetime and lead a debt-free life.
17. Can I contest a will?
Yes, you can contest a will if you are a spouse, a child, or one of the beneficiaries mentioned in the will or a previous will.
18. When should I contest a will?
You can consider contesting a will in the situations when you feel that:
- The will has not been executed properly.
- The testator signed the will without realizing that it was a will.
- The testator signed the will under force or undue influence.
- The testator didn’t write the will in a stable mind.
19. How do I contest a will?
You can contest a will by filing a lawsuit to invalidate it. But before proceeding, keep the following things in mind:
- Determine if you have valid reasons to contest a will
- Determine if you’re a beneficiary, or a fiduciary named in the will
- Find out if there is adequate time to contest a will
- Talk to your attorney about the chances of getting the will invalidated
20. What other services can you get from us?