A last will and testament, commonly referred to as a will, is a legal document that outlines the distribution of your property and assets in the event that you die.
This document dictates who inherits your investments, cash, homes, valuables, vehicles and more.
What else can a will do?
In addition to bequeathing assets to the people of your choosing, wills can name personal representatives to manage your estate, create and fund trusts, and appoint guardians for your minor children. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you in drafting the will that is right for you.
How are beneficiaries of insurance policies designated?
Though a will names the recipient of your assets, the beneficiaries of insurance policies are normally prescribed on that paperwork. If you did not name an inheritor for your insurance or retirement policies, you can appoint them in your will, though doing so could make claiming funds more complicated.
What happens to assets in the absence of a will?
If you die without a will, a court will likely divide your assets among your immediate family members. The legal term for this is intestate succession. This typically results in either your spouse inheriting all assets or your spouse inheriting 50% while your children inherit the other 50% collectively. Everyone can benefit from a will, but those with complicated familial ties can especially gain from drafting one.
While a will is not the only estate planning document that assists people in planning for their family’s financial stability after their death, it is a very important one.