All You Need to Know About the Last Will and Testament in Vermont
Why do you need to make official who gets your kids or who inherits your ranches? The last will and testament refers to a legally recognized instrument that outlines your wishes regarding who inherits your estate and who take up the guardianship role for your kids after your demise. It is the foundation of estate planning. And looking at all the decisions, you could make using a will; it is easily the most powerful document you could prepare. The best bit is that the last will gives you the power to control things long after your passing.
But whether you want to control things after your demise or you just want your kids to receive the best possible care, you should create a will correctly.
You have the option of talking to an estate planning attorney, especially when you have some complex family paradigms to take care of but you could use a free Vermont last will and testament form to create a will on your own and at no extra cost.
The decisions you need to make, and the thing you should have in your free last will and testament in Vermont include:
Picking a guardian for your kids
Your parents may not be at their best health wise, and they are getting old. That means that making them guardians isn’t advisable. On the other hand, your siblings may have the best intentions and you know they love their nieces and nephews but, if they have some habits you don’t want your kids to develop, then they are out of the questions. You also have the state: the court could rule on guardianship and appoint the least trustworthy person in your life. The court could also split up your kids.
So, to prevent any of these from happening, approach someone you trust, talk to them about it and if they agree to take up the role appoint them guardians. You could also name an alternate guardian, just in case.
Remember that if you are married, your spouse is to take care of your kids and dependents, and if divorced, your ex-spouse might have to take the guardianship role. But if you don’t have these people in your life, then you have the godparents. Make sure you put down the name to avoid any complications and to make it legal.
The question: who gets your assets is the most elusive ones you have to answer especially when you are in a complicated situation like being in a blended family or when you want to include an institution in the list.
But you can simplify the process by identifying who is more deserving in your eyes. For kids, you are safe with an even distribution of the assets among all your kids. By naming your beneficiaries and allocating different values or percentages against the names, you relieve your family from an immense amount of stress which could break those family ties.
Keep in mind that however absurd your list of beneficiaries is, it is better for your family to blame you that to put the blame on each other.
The witnesses who affirm that you signed the will willingly and that you were of sound mind at the time should not be the beneficiaries of the estate. They should be neutral parties.
The executor’s role is to execute your personal property and real estate. The executor files the will with the probate court, and after the court affirms the will, they manage your estate – paying off debts and taxes, and then they distribute your estate according to your directives.
Do you need a guardian of the estate?
The guardian for your kids doesn’t have to be the guardian of the estate. The guardian of the estate will be responsible for the management of your child’s well-being in the financial sense. This guardian is essential especially if there is a lot of money involved especially when you have a life insurance policy.
Validation of your will
Upon death, the executor will present the will to the probate court and await their feedback. The probate process is often lengthy, and it could take anything from 3 months to even 3 years depending on the complexity of the state. But when the court grants its approval, then the executor assumes the roles assigned and then distributes your assets.
For validation, the will should have met the requirements of code section Tit. 14 §1, et seq. The creator of the will (testator) should be at least 18 years old, they should be of sound mind, and 2 or more witnesses must sign the will.
It should have all the details covered above, and it must be in writing. The courts will only accept nuncupative (oral) wills in specific circumstances.
What happens if you die without a will in Vermont?
The state will invoke intestacy law. Under these laws, the state awards the surviving spouse the entire estate even when they share kids. If you have kids from another relationship, the estate is divided equally, but the spouse gets the household goods and other properties. Without kids, a spouse, or parents, the decedent’s siblings and grandparents, or the next close relative inherit the estate.
Are you looking for help in creating a last will in Burlington, Stove, Brattleboro, Montpelier, or any other city in Vermont? Get our free last will, and testament forms will get you started.