Wills and LA Probate Law
One of the most common instruments used to pass on your assets to other people is a Will. This document is easy to be filled out and witnessed, and it can be used to express many of your desires to your loved ones as to how you want your possessions dispersed. Having a Will is a must-have document for anyone who has special expectations of how to divide up their possessions. If you do not have one when you die, which is called being intestate, your assets are apt to be divided up by the state, and they are not required to follow your desires at all – even if they are known. Typically, unless the law requires differently, your property will be divided up equally between your spouse and children, or other closest relatives in order. The division process is pre-determined by law, and it will be fulfilled accordingly. LA Probate Law is ready to help you write a Will to help you transfer your assets smoothly and according to your desires.
Three Requirements for a Valid Will
In order for a Will to be recognized by the court, it has to follow a prescribed formula. When there are any legitimate questions about the validity of a Will, it is usually rejected and then the division of assets is decided upon by the Court. This makes it essential to have an attorney at LA Probate Law to help you fill out your Will. Many Wills are rejected if they are completely handwritten, which is called a “holographic” Will. Handwriting a Will is not recommended; you should use a typewriter or one that is computer-generated. The writing of a Will must also be able to pass three tests, two of which refers to the individual writing it. A writer of the Will must pass the test of soundness of mind, and of having a free will when it was signed. The Will’s creator must also sign it in front of a minimum of two witnesses, and none of them can be related to you or be a recipient of anything in the Will. The witnesses who are also signing the Will may need to be located, and this expense will come out of the estate. A Will that is considered a fraud and proven to be, that is, it was not what the signer of the Will believed it to be, is thrown out completely.
Wills May Be Contested
When a relative or family member believes that the Will is not what the creator of the Will really wanted, or that it is fraudulent, or that it is not the last Will written, the Will may be contested. This process must be initiated within a short time period, and proof will need to be presented. An individual contesting the Will needs to be in some way affected by the Will as it is written, which means that they believe that they are going to lose something that they feel should be coming to them. Contesting a Will can be a costly experience. Perhaps the worse side of the experience, however, is that it is apt to alienate the family and relatives against you for having done so. If the Will is rejected, the deceased will be treated as being intestate, which means that it will be as if there were no Will at all – and the state then divides up the assets. If you feel that you have grounds to contest a Will, LA Probate Law invites you to talk to us to see if you have grounds for a case.
There are Several Types of Wills Available
There are several different types of Wills that you can choose from to accomplish your goals. The most common is the Basic Single Will, which is just a Simple Will and it enables you to pass on your possessions to the people you wish to receive it. It allows you to appoint executors and guardians for your minor children, give special gifts, provide special instructions for your funeral, and other intentions. A Property Trust Will can help you protect property that is owned jointly in case of remarriage or from long term care needs. In the case of a remarriage, the property is typically passed to the surviving spouse, and this type of will protects your half of the property and ensures that it will be passed to your children instead of to those designated by the new marriage. Discretionary Trust Wills can be created to provide long term asset protection. LA Probate Law can help you decide which type of Will would be the best to accomplish your personal goals for your asset distribution and protection.
Living Wills Are Important
A Living Will is another type of Will that is very common today. This should be considered as an important addition to your estate planning needs. This document allows others to make health decisions for you in the event that you become unable to make them for yourself. They determine whether or not you should be put on life support, and if there are any limitations as to the type of treatments that might be given if you should become comatose or suffer from a terminal illness, and whether or not you are going to be an organ donor. This type of Will may also be called a health care directive, or an advance directive. Another important document that is related to it is called a health care power of attorney or healthcare proxy. This document enables another person to make health decisions for you if you should ever become incapacitated. Attorneys at LA Probate Law can help you create this document and ensure that it is prepared properly to convey your exact wishes concerning end of life situations.