Seven Things You Should Know About Wills

Written by Collett P. Small, Esq. on . Posted in Blog

1. What is a will?

A will is a legal document that provides written direction for the distribution of your
property at death.

2. What are the requirements for making a will?

The maker of the will must be 18 years or older, and of sound mind. The will must be
written and witnessed by at least two witnesses.

3. What will happen if you die without a Will?

If you do not have a will, your assets may not be distributed in the manner you wish and
the state will oversee the distribution of your property according to a rigid set of rules
established by statute. This type of distribution may create financial and emotional
problems for your loved ones. The court appoints a personal representative, to manage
your estate. The cost may be greater than if you had a will and the administration of your
estate may be subject to greater court supervision.

4. Why do I need a will?

Having a will gives you control over the distribution of your property. It lets you decide
how your belongings, should be distributed.

5. Can I change my will once it's made?

As long as you are of sound mind you may write a new will to replace the old one, or make
an addition using an amendment known as a codicil. Changes in your circumstances after
making a will, such as tax law amendments, deaths, marriage, divorce, birth of children, or
change in the nature of your property, may create a need for a new will.

6. How long is a will valid?

A will is valid until it is legally changed or revoked. You may change your will as long as
you have the capacity that is required to make a will.

7. Who should prepare your will?

Wills are very personal and individualized legal documents and should be discussed with
an attorney who is knowledgeable in this area. The preparation of a will involves making
decisions that require professional judgment which can be obtained only by years of
training and experience. An experienced attorney can pitfalls and advise the course best
suited for each client. Remember, there is no such thing as a "simple will." Even small
estates can have complexities only foreseeable by the experienced attorney. Elder Law
Attorneys are experienced in drafting wills so they are a good choice to provide assistance
in this area. If you have any questions regarding making your will do not hesitate to
consult with an experienced Elder Law attorney in your area.