Drafting a will is a common way to share your wishes for how you want your property and affairs handled after you pass away. A last will and testament is a legal document that provides instructions on how your heirs will receive your assets.
Yahoo Finance’s article, “What Does a Last Will and Testament Actually Do?” explains that a last will and testament has instructions for what you want to happen with your assets. A will also designates an executor, names beneficiaries and more. A qualified estate planning lawyer can help you in preparing one.
A will should name an executor to carry out the wishes you set out in your will. Your executor is a person you trust to carry out your post-life plans by distributing your assets and other property. Your executor has six months to one year to file your will with probate court, depending on the state in which you resided. Probate happens with or without a will, but having a will ensures your wishes are carried out the way you intended.
Your executor is also required to contact any creditors about outstanding debts and to use your assets to pay these bills. The remaining estate can then be distributed.
If you created a will as a young adult, your circumstances have probably changed. You need to update your will as soon as possible. This could mean adding children that have become a part of your family since you created your will.
This means your updated will should name a guardian, in the event you pass away unexpectedly and leave orphaned minor children.
You should make changes to your will and your estate plan when major events occur in your life. That includes marriage, divorce, death, and birth. If something unfortunate occurs, and you don’t have a will or your will isn’t updated, a judge will decide how to handle your affairs.
Reference: Yahoo Finance (September 17, 2019) “What Does a Last Will and Testament Actually Do?”