Creating a Last Will and Testament in Washington DC
If you are worried about who will take care of your kids if you were to die today or who should inherit your estate, consider creating a last will.
A last will and testament is a crucial estate planning document that determines who inherits your personal property or real estate upon your death. The last will is also critical if you are planning to name someone the legal guardian of your kids should you and your spouse pass away at the same time or if you are the only parent. Being a legal document, the person creating the will is referred to as the testator.
But children and your estate are not the only reason for the creation a free last will and testament in Washington DC. You could also use the will as the tool for the protection of your pet. Besides naming someone else the caregiver of the pet, you could use the will to create a pet trust. In the District of Columbia, the pet trust expires upon the death of the animal.
The trusts created through the will are testamentary trusts, and they are not limited to the pet trust. You could create different types of trusts using the last will. Among them: the dynasty trust that keeps your assets in the family, the education trust that aids in the accumulation of assets, the disclaimer trust that shelters your spouse’s inherited assets, or the special needs trust that facilitates the care of a dependent with special needs on your behalf. If you have a large estate, you could use the will for tax planning by creating a credit shelter trust. Looking at all these possibilities, it only makes sense to create a will immediately, right?
The other benefit of creating a last will is that it lets you appoint an executor. An executor refers to the person responsible for the management of your estate in your estate upon your death. The executor will also distribute your assets. But before he or she does that, they have to file the will with the probate court where the will is validated or not. Probate refers to the court-supervised process that oversees the distribution of the assets of a decedent.
In the District of Columbia, there are supervised and unsupervised probate procedures, as well as asset distribution options for smaller estates. The small estates include the ones where the executor can claim their property using an affidavit. The simplified procedures are also applicable for estates worth a minimum of $40,000.
Since you do not want to create a will for it to be disapproved by the court, we recommend that you get all your details in order. You need the follow the provisions of code section 18-102, et seq.
Requirements for the will’s validity in Washington DC
Under the statutory provisions, the testator should be at least 18 years old when creating the will. At the time, the testator should also be of sound mind, and they must sign the will in the presence of 2 or more witnesses. If the testator is unable to sign the will for one reason or the other, he or she could ask someone else to sign the will in their presence and as per their explicit directions. Witnesses should also be present to attest to the fact that the person signing the will is following orders from the testator.
The state also requires that the will is in writing. We recommend filling out a free Washington DC last will and testament form to simplify the process. But besides the written will, the state also accepts nuncupative/oral wills as long as an individual prepares the nuncupative will while in active military duty, naval service or one serving with the marines at sea.
The other important element of the last will and testament is the naming of the beneficiaries of your estate. You can name any person or institution; the state has no limitations. But to simplify the executor’s work, you might want to allocate percentages beside what everyone gets. You could also indicate the exact dollar value to be inherited. For indivisible items, name who inherits them.
You also have to name the guardian for your minor children as well as the executor. And it won’t hurt to appoint alternates to the guardian and the executor.
If you find it necessary to appoint a guardian of the estate, especially the one inherited by your kids or the family business, do it here.
Changing the will
You can change your will at any time using a codicil. A codicil is a type of amendment to the will, and its execution should be similar to that of the original will.
Revoking the will
You can revoke the will at any to either by executing a subsequent last will, by using a codicil or any other form of writing.
Alternatively, you or someone acting under your direction may obliterate, cancel, burn, or tear the will, as long as your intention is to revoke the will.
What happens if you do not create a will in Washington DC?
Without a will, the state invokes the intestacy laws. Under these laws your estate is intestate and your surviving spouse will inherit the entire estate unless you have shared kids where your spouse will inherit two-thirds of the estate and your kids will inherit the rest. But everything changes if you had children from a different relationship.
In the absence of kids, a spouse or parents, your estate is inherited by your siblings or grandparents.
Are you ready to create a last will? Whether you live in Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Olympia, Yakima or any other city in DC, our free last will, and testament forms got you covered.