A Will is a legal document which states the directions of it’s maker regarding the disposition of his or her estate after death. The Will sets forth how assets will be distributed and who will act as the “personal representative” in charge of administering the estate. A Will is an important document in an estate plan but does not avoid probate. When one passes, the Will goes through probate which is a court administered process. An analysis of a client's estate will help determine whether a Trust is an appropriate legal instrument for such client.
Characteristics and requirements for a Will:
The maker must be age eighteen (18) or older and of sound mind;
Written Will: must be witnessed by two individuals;
May designate beneficiaries and attach conditions to a bequest;
May designate the personal representative;
May designate a guardian for minors;
May be revoked and amended;
May create a trust in the Will for spouse, minors and other beneficiaries;
The signature of the Maker and witnesses should be notarized (self-proof).