Preparation of Wills in Washington

Creation of a Will is a significant step to determine who will be the successor of your property after your death. It’s an important step to plan the well distribution of your property after your death. A proper Will guarantees that your kids and spouse will be able to inherit your property without any legal hassle after your death. Some of the aspects of creating a Will in Washington have been mentioned below.

Requirements

The basic requirements to create a Will in the state of Washington have been mentioned below:

Age: The individual making the Will (the testator) must be at least 18 years old.

Capability: The Will maker (the testator) must be able to think logically and make decisions.

Signature: The Will must be signed by the testator and or by someone else at his/her request and at his/her presence.

Witness: At least two individuals (who are not receiving anything from the will) must be present while the testator signs the will. They must also sign their names to acknowledge the will.

Writing: The will must always be in writing.

Beneficiaries: The testator can make use of the Will to distribute property to anyone.

Other types of Wills accepted by the Washington law:

Holographic Wills: Some handwritten wills (known as ‘holographic wills’) may be granted as valid in some cases. However, Washington law is very particular about holographic wills and it’s always best to type your Will.

Purposes

Distribution of Property: A Will is a valid and legal weapon for any individual that he can employ to explain how he/she wants to distribute his/her property after death. In Washington, you can distribute your property how you want.

Some other functions a Will: Apart from just serving the purpose of the distribution of your property, a Will in Washington allows you to name the person who will be responsible for your minor children and their property, and moreover the person who will be supervising your property until probate is complete.

Fewer exceptions: There are few exceptions to the ability to distribute property.

  • If a property is jointly owned with a right of survivorship, the whole property directly goes to the surviving owner.
  • In Washington, half of any community property goes to the domestic partner or the surviving spouse. However, Washington law also allows you to distribute half of your community property as you like under your Will, or by writing separately and notarized Community Property Agreement signed by both you and your spouse or domestic partner.

If you don’t provide anything for your spouse or domestic partner in your Will, he or she automatically becomes a part of your property under Washington law, unless it is clear from the Will or other evidence that you intended to exclude your spouse from your property.

Similarly, your own or adopted child will be entitled to be a part of your property, unless it is clear from the Will or other evidence that you intended to exclude your child in this way.

Changing and Revoking of Will in Washington

You can change or alter your Will whenever you wish. You can do this through a codicil. Codicil is a document that explains the addition or changes you want to make in your Will. However, a codicil must be signed and witnessed like Wills.

You can revoke your Will (either partly or fully) by preparing another Will or writing. You can also (or someone else at your request) destroy your present Will deliberately and prepare another. Again, if you get divorced, all provisions in your Will related to your former spouse or your domestic partner will be ceased, unless your Will says otherwise. One thing needs to be mentioned here. If you again get married with your former spouse, or reregister your domestic partnership with your former domestic partner, those provisions will again become effective.

Intestacy

If you prepare a Will in Washington, it’ll control the distribution of you property after you die. In case you die without a valid Will, the state will declare that you’ve died "intestate" and your property will be distributed as per the state law. For example, if you die only leaving your spouse behind, then he/she will inherit all of your estate. However, if you die leaving your children behind and no spouse, your children will split the estate equally.

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