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Wills & Estates

Wills & Estates

What is a Will?

A will, which is sometimes known as a “Last Will and Testament”, is a legally enforceable document that provides instructions or lists specific desires of the owner of the will as to what happens to their body, and/or their property after they pass away. The will may provide that certain property of the owner go to a specific person or entity. This person or entity is called a beneficiary. It is possible to leave gifts to pets as well.

In addition to assigning property to a beneficiary, a will may be used to list any desires the owner wants to happen after they pass away. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Naming a Personal Representative or Executor. This is a person that the owner of the will chooses to carry out their last wishes. It could be a trusted family member, a friend, or anyone the owner chooses. Most of the time, it is a family member
  • Naming a Guardian for Minor Children or Pets. The owner of the will can name any specific person whom they trust to take care of their younger children or pets if the owner passes away
  • Listing Funeral Arrangements. In a will, the owner may list what happens at their funeral. It can be what happens to their body (ex. Cremated or buried), where they want to be buried, if they want to donate their organs for science or for those who need them, where the cost should be paid from, or any other such desires.
  • How Debts will be Paid. The owner of the will may also list how certain debts should be paid. They may list which bank account should be used to pay debts, which accounts should be untouched, or any other legal method that would satisfy debts.
  • Create a Living Trust. A trust is a legally enforceable document which instructs a specific person, called a Personal Representative, to hold and manage property for the benefit of a third party. For example, the owner of the will can entrust someone to hold and manage property for their child if they believe the child would not be able to manage the property well. This can be listed in a will.

Who needs a Will?

There is no age limit or requirement as to who can have a will. Many people believe that only elderly people should create a will but this is a big mistake. It is recommended that anyone create a will as early as possible, so in case an unfortunate situation happens, your property will go to a person or entity you trust to have and that your last desires are carried out.

Why have a Will?

Those who pass away without a will is labeled as dying intestate. It is important to note that those who pass away without a will would have their property distributed by their state’s law of intestacy. Each state has a method of distributing property of a person who does not have a will, meaning that your property could go to a person you did not want or intend for that person to have. If there is no living person under the state’s law of intestacy to distribute your property to, the state will keep or sell your property, a process called “Escheat”. This is why is it important to list what happens to your property, listing who your property will go to, or to list any last desires.

What we can do for you.

At Ofori Law Firm, we can create a legally enforceable will that is easy to understand format so that all your last desires will be carried out. In addition, we can file your will with the Register of Wills, the department of the court which handles Wills and Estates, to hold for safe keeping in case you lose or misplace your copy. Contact us today and let us help you create a will.

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