Last Will and Testament – The Basics
A last will and testament is a document that allows you to outline our wishes for how you would like your estate to be taken care of. A will is a probate document. It is a common misconception that a will avoids probate. Rather, it is a list of instructions for the court to follow in regard to the distribution of your estate. In this article, we will go over the basics of how to create a last will and testament.
What to Include in Your Will
Your last will and testament need to include two essential components. The first important component is choosing your beneficiaries. These are the people that you wish to receive your property when you pass. You can also choose specific assets to gift to a beneficiary or you can gift them a specific sum of money. Secondly, you must appoint a personal representative. This will be the person who will carry out your wishes for you after you pass. They will sell your property and distribute your assets to your beneficiaries. They are also the ones who will handle the probate court. You may also want to name an alternate personal representative in case your first choice is unable to serve.
Properly Execute Your Documents
For your last will and testament to be valid it must be properly signed. Each state has different rules about this, in this article, we will focus on the State of Arizona. First, to create and sign a will you must be at least 18 and of sound mind. Your Will must be signed in front of two disinterested witnesses. It is also good practice to have your will notarized. Failing to be properly executed your will causes it to be invalid and will create additional problems with the probate process. This happening will greatly increase your expenses and reduce your estate.
Other Documents You Should Have
In addition to a last will and testament, there are other important estate planning documents that you should have in place. These include a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will. You may also want to have a Revocable Living Trust. A living trust is a beneficial estate planning document that can help your beneficiaries avoid probate and simplify the process after you pass.
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