A last will and testament is a legal instrument used by a testator to distribute his or her assets to beneficiaries of their choice. A testator is a person who creates the will. While creating a will, a testator wishes to have their wishes protected even after their death. To make this possible, one doesn't create the will and leave it lying in a drawer. And even when they do, they appoint someone they trust as an executor.
An executor refers to the person who is appointed by the testator to oversee asset distribution upon their demise. The executor could be a close friend to the testator, a family member, an heir, or an attorney. While the will grants the executor power to administer and distribute their assets after death, the probate court legalizes the appointment while validating the will.
Wondering if you need a will? Yes. Using a free Iowa last will and testament form easily accessible online, you can write down and sign a will, as long as you are 18 years, married, and of sound mind. The last will is only deemed valid if, at the time of creating the will you are of sound mind and not acting under duress.
The will should also enlist beneficiaries. Alongside the signature of the testator, it must have the signature of 2 competent adult witnesses.
While you get to prepare a last will and testament early in life, you should be relieved to know that you can change the will later. You can change the beneficiaries, and you can also edit any conditions you want to be included in the will. To change the will, you either create a new will, or you use a codicil. A codicil facilitates the amendment of the original will although you have to execute the will following the same procedures followed when creating the will.
You can also revoke the will at will and at any time you want to. Revocation can be done through the execution of a new will or if you destroy, tear, or obliterate the will while intending to revoke the powers of the will. In Iowa, a will gets revoked if a couple divorces and where the spouse was the listed executor of the estate.
What happens if you die without a will?
If you don't have a will at the time of your death, then it means that the state decides who get what percentage of your estate. Without a will, you are a decedent and your estate intestate. To get started, the state will instigate intestacy laws. These laws govern the distribution of assets.
Without the will, your surviving spouse bags your entire estate - this happens even if you share children with the spouse. However, if you do not share children with your surviving spouse, then the spouse gets half of your real estate and half of the estate, as long as the share is at least $50,000. Without a spouse or kids parent, siblings, or grandparents inherit your assets - basically, whoever is closely related to you.
Need more motivation to create a will? Here are some of the roles of the free last will and testament in Iowa.
It will revoke any prior will created
By creating a new will, you declare any old wills invalid. That means that you get to create a will that represents your wishes even better regarding property distribution. You should, however, make your intentions to revoke wills created before a certain date to avoid chaos after your demise. If you are okay with the will, but you only want to include a minor addition, you can do that using a codicil.
It protects minor kids
By naming a guardian for your minor kids in the will, you protect your children. This is one of the most important roles of a will, and if you have kids, it is enough if you only name a guardian. Since the guardian may have to raise your kids and take care of all the responsibilities around kids, you should ask that person on your mind if they wish to be a guardian. Also, be careful about who you choose to be a legal guardian - just because you are blood relatives doesn't mean that they will take care of your kids. Don't forget that failing to create a will means that the court appoints a guardian and your kids may go into the foster care system.
The naming of an executor
Who do you trust to follow your wishes as indicated in the will and to ensure that asset distribution is fair? Name that individual as an executor, but only if they accept the responsibilities. The executor will be your personal representative after your death, and they have fiduciary duties.
Conditions for estate distribution
You have to give explicit instruction on who gets what and why (relationship).
You can get our last will and testament forms from any city in Iowa.