One of the most important things that people can do in their lives, especially for those they care about, is to establish an estate plan. In its simplest form, an estate plan can be crafted in the form of a last will and testament. This document, while it might seem a bit dark in topic, is the most critical thing left behind should he or she pass away. It is literally the primary document the court will follow with regard to how a person’s property and assets should be treated after death. Especially in the case of wishes that following generations receive specific things or support, the will is essential. Without it, a person’s estate treatment is decided by the court in probate, and that means it could go to someone completely unrelated to the original owner.
A Comprehensive Plan for What Comes Next
A legal will and testament represent your last wishes. It affects monies, financial securities, property, and even real estate left behind. It also resolves any confusion when there are multiple relatives or parties that might have an interest in one’s estate after he or she has passed.
The will as a legal document spells out a number of important aspects that the court then recognizes in a formal probate hearing. First, it defines that the will’s owner was a legal adult and of sound mind. Both are necessary to avoid an argument that the owner of the estate had no right to delegate anything to anyone. Second, the will shows both by signature and legal witness that the document was in fact executed correctly and while the person was alive.
Third, a will resolves potential conflicts or disputes about how a partner left behind will be supported, as well as children and relatives. Again, without this legal detail in place, an entire estate can be distributed to whoever can make a convincing argument to the probate court. And, in some cases, the court could even decide to transfer the estate to a non-related party altogether, such as creditors or a government agency, for example.
Stick With Traditional Will Approach
Some will argue a recorded voice will or a handwritten will (holographic instrument) are good enough. Legally, an oral will doesn’t work. A holographic instrument, while it will be recognized by the court, can be subject to a significant challenge. In comparison, a written, properly-executed will is recognized far more often by the court and left unchanged.
Listen to the Professional Opinion
Vero Beach attorneys that prepare wills know that the most frequent way an estate can be challenged tends to be where there is confusion and ambiguity. Because of this fact, a good attorney will make sure every aspect of a prepared will is as clear as possible with as specific details as necessary when describing the assets and property affected.
While there are alternatives, or one could simply not create a will at all, doing so isn’t simply about spelling who gets what after a person has passed. It also spells out how your loved ones will be supported and taken care of after the fact. This, fundamentally, could be the most influential decision a person makes affecting the lives of those left behind for years to follow.