A will is a document that is used in estate planning. You would use a will to help you plan in advance how you want any property you own or any obligations you have handled. It is a legal document that transfers ownership of all personal and real property after your death to someone else.
You need a will to appoint your council, executor, representative, or trustee; to give and bequest all of your holdings, monies, property, belongings, and real estate to someone; if you have a business to tell your employees to continue their positions if the business is to carry on and who will assume your position; you also need a will to state what to do with any contracts, promises, agreements or any other obligations you may have.
You may choose to give a gift of personal property which is called a legacy or bequest, or you may give a gift of real estate which is called a devise. Sometimes people may include stipulations with their gifts.
For example a grandchild may be given money that can only be accessed after they turn twenty-one or finish college. A will may also contain information about your burial, such as you want to be cremated and your ashes spread on your favorite mountain top.
A will can also appoint a guardian for incapacitated adults or minor children. In general, the law requires us to pass our property ownership to someone else after we die. Therefore, the will gives them legal right to the property.
There are laws governing wills and each States laws are a little bit different. Before a will is carried out, it has to be proved to be valid. This process is called probate this is done in order to protect someone from fraud. During this process, it is also confirmed that a person was of sound mind when they drew up the will. A valid will is called testate.
If someone dies and there is no will, it is called intestate. When this happens the intestacy law goes into affect and the property will be divided among family members, however, if no family members can be found, it is called escheat and that means the property automatically goes to the state.
The last thing that anyone wants to do upon their death is to cause a problem, and having a will prevents any misunderstanding about your property. It is important that your family know how you want everything handled, and the only way that is going to happen is if you have a valid will.
Jenta, Gaylord A., Miller, Roger Leroy, and Cross, Frank B., “West’s Business Law Alternative Edition” Seventh Edition West Education Publishing Company Copyright 1999