More than half of Americans do not have a Will or other estate plan in place. Sitting down and deciding what will happen to your property when you die is a task many people dread. This burdensome and emotional task, however, is necessary to provide for your loved ones.
To show our appreciation for those who risk their lives daily to serve and protect our community, vegas west attorneys will prepare simple wills free of charge to police officers and fire fighters through May 31, 2019. In a simple will, you designate how your assets will be distributed upon your death and who will be the executor of your estate. The free offer applies only to simple wills and does not apply to complex wills, trusts or estate plans, which are available for a fee.
To take advantage of this free offer, call and schedule an appointment with vegas west attorneys. Simply present your ID card or badge, and we will prepare your simple will at no charge for anyone who retains by May 31, 2019.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document that designates who will receive your property upon your death, the guardian of your children, what you would like to happen to your pets and who will be the executor of your estate to it administer it accordingly. After you die, the probate court in the county you lived in will read your will and make sure the wishes you expressed in your will are carried out. If you do not have a will created by the time you die, there will be no way for the probate court to know what your desires were regarding your property or your children.
Do I need a will?
If you care what happens to your property and your minor children, if any, after you die, then it is crucial that you have a will prepared so that your wishes can be carried out once you are gone. Your will allows you the sole discretion in how your property will pass to your family, friends, or whoever you designate to receive your property. Additionally, it allows you to designate who you choose to be the guardian of any minor children you have. This will become an important document if both you and the other parent of your children are deceased.
What happens if I do not have a will when I die?
If you do not have a will when you die, the probate court will distribute your property according to the intestate statutes of your state. For example, in Nevada, if you die with one child but no spouse, parents, or other family, your child will inherit all your property. However, if you die with a spouse and one child, your spouse will inherit all your community property and half of your separate property, and your child will inherit the other half of your separate property. This setup could be troublesome for you if your child is from a previous marriage and you want your child to inherit all your separate property.
What should I do with my will after it is prepared?
Creating a will is only the first step. After you execute your will, you must ensure that you place it somewhere safe where it will be found in the event you die unexpectedly. For example, you can place it in the hands of your chosen executor or someone else you trust. If you do not want to give it to someone to hold onto, then make sure you place it in an easy-to-find location, such as a desk drawer, safe, or somewhere else where your loved ones will know to look. If you hide your will and no one ever finds it, then there will be no way for the probate court to know what your wishes were regarding your property.
How do I revoke or change my will?
To revoke your will, you simply need to destroy all your existing wills, or you can create a new will. The probate court will administer your most recent will that is provided to the court. If you would like to change your will, you can either create a new will, or you can create a codicil. A codicil serves as an amendment to your will. As such, it can be used to either make an addition to the provisions of your will, remove certain provisions of your will, or simply alter the terms of the provisions of your will. Whether you should create an entire new will or simply execute a codicil depends on the specific facts of your situation and the terms you would like to modify. When in doubt, you are likely better off preparing an entirely new will. If you are unsure or have questions about your specific situation, you should absolutely consult with an attorney to find out which option would best effectuate your wishes.
Can I create my will myself or should I hire a professional?
Although in many states it is possible to create a will yourself without the use of a lawyer, most lawyers do not recommend you do so. Take a holographic will, for example. A holographic will is a will that is written by hand by the person making the will. Although certain states do accept holographic wills as valid wills, this may not be the best option for you because it can be slightly riskier than having a will prepared by an attorney. Probate laws vary state to state, but generally speaking, a typed will must be signed by the testator in front of two witnesses. If you hire an attorney to prepare your will, your attorney will likely arrange to have your own signature notarized, as well as the signatures of the two witnesses notarized. Complying with these formalities will help ensure your will is taken as valid by the probate court and your wishes that you expressed in your will are carried out as you requested. When a person tries to create his will himself, he usually runs a higher risk of making a mistake that will render his will invalid. As such, your best option is always to consult a licensed attorney to assist you in the preparation of your will and any other estate planning documents you might need.