A will is a legal expression or declaration of a person's mind or wishes as to the disposition of his property, to be performed and to take effect after his death. It is not a sheet of paper nor a number of sheets of paper but the written words thereon. It must be executed with the formalities required by statute only after the death of the maker.
Anyone who is of legal age and sound mind can make a valid will. You must be able to understand the nature of your estate and the consequences of making a will. You must be able to arrange an orderly scheme of distribution of your assets, and you must be acting voluntarily.
Yes. If you die without a will, then you are said to have died "intestate." This means you died without leaving anything to testify as to what your wishes were regarding the disposal of your property.
No. Only one out of four people leave a will when they die.
If you died intestate, the state or court will appoint an executor for your estate. The Executor's responsibility will be to pay any just debts you may have outstanding and then distribute your remaining assets.
No. In most states, the surviving spouse receives one-third of the estate. The balance of the assets are equally divided among the surviving children.
The court will then assume that you wanted your estate to go to a family member. They will try to determine who should get your assets.
Yes. You may choose a friend, your church, a charity, or even the state.
Yes. Generally this is a person appointed by the testator (one who dies with will) to carry out the requests in the will. The person nominated as executor becomes "Executor" only when he takes oath and the will is admitted to Probate court.
It is an excellent idea to have an attorney write your wishes and desires in the form of a will because he can help and advise you as to the particulars of your estate.
In most states there is no law stating that a lawyer must draft your will. However, the formalities or conditions in regard to the method, order, arrangement, and use of technical expressions used in making the conveyances must be used. Therefore, a lawyer's assistance may be helpful.
No. You can make whatever changes you feel are necessary by destroying the original or revoking it with a new one. It is a good idea to review your will every few years.
It is a good idea to tell the executor of your will where the original is kept. In some states, a locked box in the bank is sealed upon your death and can only be opened after probate. Family members should be notified of the location of the will. It is prudent to leave a copy of your will with your attorney in case something happens to the original.