There are many factors to consider when writing a last will and testament. Before you meet with a lawyer to discuss estate planning near Tracy and Livermore, you should write a list of your assets and consider which beneficiaries you wish to leave them to after your passing. You may also wish to write a list of questions you have for your estate planning lawyer ; he or she is your best source of information regarding estate administration.
Do I Need a Will?
If you are a legal adult, it might be a good idea for you to have a will even if you do not yet have significant assets. Should something happen to you and you pass away without a will, this is known as dying intestate. In this case, your state’s intestate succession laws will dictate who will inherit your property. This may not be in accordance with your preferences. If you have a minor child and you die without a will–and if the other parent cannot care for the child–then the state will designate a guardian for your child . The state’s laws will also determine which property the child can inherit.
What Elements Are Necessary for Legal Validity?
The laws of estate planning vary from state to state; however, most wills must have certain elements to be legally valid. For example, you must be at least 18 years old and you must be of sound mind. The will must contain at least one provision for the guardianship of minor children or for the distribution of property. It must appoint an executor and it must state specifically that the document is the testator’s will. Additionally, you and two witnesses must sign the document.
Shouldn’t My Spouse and I Have a Joint Will?
If you and your spouse file a joint tax return, you might assume that it makes sense to have a joint will. But in fact, this is almost never a good idea, since it’s unlikely that you and your spouse will pass away at the same time. Additionally, you or your spouse may have property that is held individually, rather than jointly.