It is important to have a will, but many people do not really know why. Most people know that a will designates who should receive each item in your estate at the time of your death, but a will is more than that. A will is a legal document that addresses many of the important matters for when someone passes away. This guide will go over what you should know about having a will.
The function that most people associate with a will is identifying who will receive your possessions. There are other functions, but it is important to understand this one as well. There are laws in place that designate who receives anything not named in your will, so you do not necessarily need to worry about planning for every little thing. Here are a few things that your will cannot do:
- Put conditions on your possessions – You cannot specify that someone should only receive a certain item if certain conditions are met. If you want to do this, consider using a trust.
- Avoid taxation – All your possessions are eligible for a small amount of estate taxation. This amount is usually not very much, but it is something to be mindful of.
A common question is whether you can use your will to designate who should be the new guardian of your children. Not only is this something that you can do with your will, it is one of the primary purposes of any will. This is something that your will is supposed to address, assuming you have children.
If you are married, it is automatically assumed that your spouse will take guardianship of your children. You do not need a legal document to designate this. However, it is important for your will to provide information for what should be done if your spouse passes away before you, or if you die at the same time. Of course, this only applies if your children are still minors at the time of your death. If they have become adults, then they do not need a guardian.
Your will must also name an executor. This is the person who is responsible for ensuring that your final wishes are carried out. It is a good idea to name an attorney as your executor. If you do not name one, the court will assign one to your case, which may slow down the process. You should speak with a wills and trusts lawyer, like a wills and trusts lawyer in Sacramento, CA, to set up your will properly.
Thanks to Yee Law Group, PC for their insight into some of the things you can do with a will.