Last wills and testaments are an integral part of estate planning. The last will dispatches your wishes in regards to who inherits your entire estate or who gets what.
Unfortunately, most people underestimate the importance of the last will and testament, and in the process, they give the state the power to execute the estate. Given this authority, your wishes – the ones you said but never acted on, will not matter.
If you’ve been on the fence about preparing a last will, this article will sober up your thoughts since it has all the answers to your questions.
What is a last will and testament?
A last will and testament is a legally binding/ enforceable document that conveys your interests in real property, as well as personal property upon your passing. This document conveys your interests in whichever manner, as you direct. For example, you could use the document to create a trust instead of giving everything in your estate to your young children because they might squander it all. To download last will and testament form, click here.
Which are the legal requirements for the last will?
Last wills are governed by state laws which means that the rules pertaining to a legal last will varies from one state to the other. However, there are general requirements applicable to all states. These include the fact that you should be 18 years or older, the will should be in writing, and it must be signed in front of witnesses.
Do you need a new will if you move?
If your will meets all the legal requirements of the state where the will is signed and is enforceable, then it will be enforceable in the other states too.
What is a testamentary capacity?
For most of the laws that pertain to the validity of the last will, the testator (the person making the will) must have testamentary capacity. The testamentary capacity is more than being of sound mind in that the testator must understand these three elements:
The will’s purpose
The fact that the document they’re signing is a last will and testament form
And that the will shall distribute their assets and property.
It should also be noted that the biggest part of this testamentary capacity is the intention of the testator to dispose of their assets in a particular way.
Can I change my will if I change my mind?
Yes, you can. And the best bit about this that revoking the last will is as simple as tearing up the original will and any other copies although you could make a new one. Making a new will effectively render the older will (s) useless.
Note that for you to change the will, remove or make additions, you will need a codicil. A codicil is a legal document that alters the provisions of the will.
Who is an executor?
The executor is the person that you name to be the administrator of your estate after your death. The executor is, after your death, appointed by the court.
When should you update your last will and testament?
Divorce, marriage, acquisition or disposal of assets, the birth of children/ grandchildren, or if your children are minors. You might also want to update your will if one of the individuals you’ve named in your will passes on. To download Florida last will and testament form, click here.
How hard is it to challenge a last will?
The courts frown upon challenges to the validity of last wills since the creator of the will is not there to defend it. Therefore, the court will lean on upholding the will’s validity.
Most of the successfully challenged last wills are the ones based on the testator’s age or their testamentary capacity.
Will all my assets go to my heirs when I use the last will?
No, not always. Jointly-owned property and proceeds of your life insurance policy will not go to your heirs.
What happens if someone dies without a last will?
You will have died intestate, and your assets will be distributed as per the provisions of the intestacy laws of the state you lived in. In most cases, your children, surviving spouse, parents, and siblings will be on top of the list of the persons who could inherit your estate. Alabama last will and testament form can be downloaded from here.