A will can simply be explained as a ‘desire, choice, willingness, wish etc.’ of a person. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a ‘Will refers to a legal declaration of a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property or estate after death.1 Thus legally, a will is a declaration wherein a person expresses his/her desire or wish of how the disposition of his/her property or estate will take place after his/ her death.
After death, the property or estate of that particular deceased person can be dealt with in one of two ways. The first circumstance occurs when the person had previously executed a will. Where there is a valid will, the property will be disposed of according to its terms. The second circumstance occurs when there is no valid will, and thus in such a situation the state laws will apply and disposition of the property will take place based on these state statutes. Therefore, a will plays a very important role because it is one of the sole means of disposing your estate or property to your immediate family without any recourse to legal strife (besides probate court, of course) which can not only be time consuming and expensive, but also mentally exhausting.
However, if you follow our long stream of legal articles on the Verdict, you are most likely an expert in wills. Thus, we don’t need to bore you experts any longer on the intricacies of wills. Instead, we feel that we need to put extra emphasis into the importance of having a will. There are many reasons that can explain why it is extremely important to have a will.
- One of the main aims of the will is to carry out the disposal of your estate as desired or intended by the testator. In absence of a will, the property comes under intestacy state statutes. In the event that occurs, there is no guarantee that your property will be divided as envisioned by the deceased testator.
- Second, a will allows the appointment of an executor. Since the role of the executor is crucial in winding up the affairs of the property and estate, it leaves the testator at liberty to appoint a person who may be honest and trustworthy. In addition, keep in mind the executor does not necessarily have to be a family member.
- Further, under a will, the testator is also permitted to disinherit any person since it is up to the testator to decide how to dispose of their estate. A will is not effective until the death of a person, therefore it is flexible to amend upon unforeseen circumstances occurring.2
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The importance of a will can not be undermined; therefore, the role of the lawyer in drafting a will becomes very significant. A lawyer will ensure that the will is in compliance with the applicable statutes. Additionally, the lawyer will supplement the will with other legal documents such as a power of attorney and advanced healthcare directives, etc. A will lawyer is well versed in the legal technicalities; therefore he/she acts as an important resource to advise and answer any queries of the client.3 With the effects of the pandemic continuing to loom large on society, create a will from the comfort of your home using legal services available online.