Death is inevitable, and the pain of losing a loved is etched in your heart forever. It is unplanned and unforeseeable. But the most painful bit is losing families feuding over the possessions of the deceased. So, besides the anguish from the loss, families often tear each other apart making each other feel better than the other.
You could, however, leave your family and friends less distressed by creating a last will and testament. The last will and testament forms the foundation of estate planning. It is the legal instrument that declares your explicit directives regarding the distribution of your assets and even the protection of your family.
In this article, we delve into the different types of wills available and how you can use them. The wills serve to meet different needs so, whether you are a loner with no known family, you just remarried, or have minor kids, or you are in a blended family, we’ll find you the right will.
But first, what is the difference between a last and a living will?
A living will, also the advance directive (for healthcare or financial reasons) represents your wishes while you are alive but incapacitated. On the other hand, the last will is the document that represents your wishes upon death. Often, the living will carries your instructions regarding your medical care.
Types of Wills Simple will
If you do not have kids to worry about, a large estate to protect or create a taxation plan, or any concerns about will challenges, then you could create a simple will. You could also use it if you don’t have a mental condition like Alzheimer’s, no special needs child, or if you have a simple rather than a blended family or two families from remarrying.
The complex will is the most common kind. It enables the creation of irrevocable trusts, helps in setting up business succession plans, keeps assets in families, and it could also be used to accumulate assets.
If you are remarried or are in a blended family, this free last will and testament in Tennessee will get things in order.
Creating a will
Which last will best meets your needs? Who should you seek help from? How can you avoid a will challenge?
While an estate planning lawyer comes in handy when you ask these questions, it doesn’t mean that you must hire a lawyer to write a will. As long as you can work out a fair asset distribution strategy, you can create a will on your own. All you need is a free Tennessee last will and testament form available online. The form has different sections which will guide you in the will creation process.
The introduction makes it clear that you are creating the will to declare your intention to leave your assets to named beneficiaries. It also has your age and the indication that you are acting out of your own volition and that at the time of the will’s creation, you are of sound mind.
There is the section with the list of your beneficiaries, as well as the percentage or the dollar value they inherit. It also has a section for the appointed executor. An executor is a person you appoint as the manager of your estate as well as the distribution of your assets as per your wishes. The executor takes up the executorship role officially only after the probate court approves the will.
Depending on your status, you could have section naming the guardians for your minor children.
Conditions for the validity of the will
According to code section 32-1-102, et seq.’s provisions, the person creating the will is the testator. The testator should be a competent adult (18 or older), and they should be of sound mind at the time of the will’s creation. It must have the testator’s signature or the signature of the person the testator asks to sign the will for them, in their presence and as per their specific direction.
There should be at least 2 adult witnesses at the signing of the will, and the beneficiaries are not regarded, witnesses.
It should have the name of the beneficiaries/ heirs.
The last condition is that the will should be in writing. But there is an exception to this rule – the state recognizes nuncupative or oral wills and the holographic or handwritten wills. For approval of the holographic will, it should be proven that the handwriting on the entire document belongs to the testator.
The oral wills, on the other hand, must meet a number of requirements for validity. Among them, the will should have been created by an individual close to death or close to a deathly peril where the individual dies from the said peril.
Changing and Revoking wills
You can change your last will at any time. All you need is a codicil, and you also have to make sure that the amendment follows the same procedure as that followed in creating the original will.
Revoking a will is possible at any time. You can revoke the will be executing another, destruction of the will or a subsequent marriage or the birth of a child.
What happens if you don’t have a will?
The state invokes intestacy laws. These laws state that the surviving spouse will inherit your entire estate unless you have kids with the spouse where your kids and spouse share the estate equally. But the spouse’s share cannot be less than 1/3. Without kids, a spouse or parents, your estate goes to your siblings and grandparents.
Planning to create a will soon? Wherever you are; Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Clarksville, or any other city in Tennessee, you can get our free last will and testament forms to get you started.