From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: What is a Will?
Recently updated June 30, 2018.
Please Explain What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document which:
- Specifies the beneficiaries who are to inherit your assets either outright or in trust.
- Names a representative (an executor or personal representative) to administer the estate, pay your debts and any taxes and then to be responsible for distributing your assets to the beneficiary or to a trustee.
- Nominates a guardian for your minor children.
While most assets held in your name alone pass through your will, there are exceptions:
- Revocable Living Trusts: If you have formed a Revocable Living Trust during your lifetime, the assets you transferred to the trust pass according to the trust’s terms, no matter what your Will states.
- Beneficiary Designations: if you have named a beneficiary for a bank account, life insurance policy or IRA, that beneficiary receives the account no matter what you may have said in your Will.
- Joint Ownership: Some assets can be held in more than one name. In some cases, these assets are held “jointly with a right of survivorship.” These assets pass to the surviving joint owner, no matter what the Will states.
More Planning Questions?
The Will is only a piece of the Estate Planning process. By all means, if you want to learn more, please read my more detailed article, Estate Planning Everything You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: The Will Explained
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining a will. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website so you can learn more. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!
Let our Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced estate planning lawyers. By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!
Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do!
Wills, Trusts and Estates, It’s All We Do!