What is a will?
A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death and who will (or will not) receive them. After your death, the court will ensure your wishes are carried out according to your will.
What else is included in a will?
A will also includes a personal representative. A personal representative is the person who will carry out the wishes of your will after your death. A personal representative must be a competent individual over the age of 18 years, but should be someone you trust and place complete confidence in.
Do I need a will? What happens if I don’t have one?
YES. Everyone needs a will. After your death if you don’t have a will, the court will decide how your assets are distributed. Unfortunately, this can often times result in frustration, unnecessary costs and disputes for your loved ones. Save them the hassle. Even if you don’t have many assets, chances are you own something of value. This may be a pet, family heirloom, car, jewelry, or furniture. It can be anything!
How often should I update my will?
You should update your will at least every year and after any major changes in your life. This may be the death of a family member, friend or pet, the birth of a new child or grandchild, a marriage, a divorce, or new purchases or transactions.
Does a will include my beneficiary for my insurance policies, 401k, etc.?
Yes, a will can include these beneficiaries. HOWEVER, your beneficiaries on these policies will take precedent over the designated beneficiaries in your will. In other words, the beneficiary on your life insurance will receive those benefits after your death regardless if your will states differently. Your attorney will encourage you to make sure your will and policies are updated and reflect consistent and accurate information.