Q & A about your Last Will & Testament?

What is a Will?
A Will is a document containing your instructions about what to do with your property after you die. By leaving a Will, you exercise your right under the law to determine who receives what share of your assets.

Who needs a Will?
Anyone age 18 or over who owns a car, keeps cash in a checking or savings account, owns an interest in a home or has much furniture or other personal possessions. A Will is the only place where you can name a Guardian and Conservator for you minor children.

Won’t joint ownership take care of it?
Not really. In joint ownership of property (called “joint tenancy”), after one owner dies, the other owns it all. Seems simple, and it can be a useful tool. But it’s not right for all situations; sometimes it can create problems instead of solving them. And even where joint tenancy is the right way, a joint tenant owner should have a Will to dispose of the property when he or she becomes the sole owner, and to toke care of matters other than jointly-owned property.

Can I change my Will?
Yes. A Will is not effective until after death. Changes or amendments in your Will may be made at any time. In fact, you should make an “Annual Financial Check Up” of your property and adjust your Will to reflect present assets.

What happens to my assets when I die?
If you leave a valid Will, they are divided according to your instructions.

And if I don’t leave a Will?
Then your property is distributed by the probate court as directed by the Laws of Intestacy. The Laws of Intestacy is a state law which tells what to do with your property if you die without leaving a Will. It distributes your estate according to a formula based on people’s family relationship to you.

Is a “Do-it yourself Will” valid?
Yes, if they comply with all legal requirements. But here’s the catch. An average person is not totally familiar with the laws designed to protect heirs. Furthermore, Lawyers are familiar with the many factors which ought to be considered when preparing your Last Will & Testament.

Who should prepare my Will?
Your attorney should draft your Will. Lawyers have experience to draft a properly designed Will, which can prevent misunderstandings after your death and eliminate disputes among your survivors. An attorney is trained to understand the law and may actually help reduce expenses to your estate.

Conclusion
Call Sumner & Associates, P.C. about your Will. Remember: If you die tomorrow, would your property and effects be given to the people you want to have them? Would the person you want act as your personal representative? Who will be the Guardian and Conservator for your minor children?

 

No
Will or Trust

Will
Only

Living
Trust

Can
I avoid probate?

No

No

Yes

Can
I reduce/ avoid federal estate taxes?

No

No

Yes

Can
I keep inheritance from my heirs until they reach age 30 or older?

No

No

Yes

Can
I arrange to have funds managed for the benefit of an heir who is
handicapped or otherwise unable to handle funds?

No

No

Yes

Can
I make sure my grandchildren will receive my estate after my children die,
excluding spouses of my children?

No 

No

Yes

Can
I leave assets to children from an earlier marriage, cutting out my present
spouse?

No

No

Yes

How
long after my death until all assets are distributed and the estate is
closed (assuming all goes well)?

6
mos. to 2 yrs

6
mos. to 2 years

2
– 9 mos.

Can
I retain control over my assets while I’m alive?

Yes 

Yes

Yes

Can
I change/revoke the plan?

N/A

Yes

Yes

Does
the plan provide for someone to handle my finances if I become disabled?

No

No

Yes