End of life issues can be a difficult subject to consider. One question that often arises in the minds of individuals when dealing with such issues is whether they need a will.
Division of an individual’s estate can occur with or without a will, but there are definite advantages to having one’s wishes expressed in a will.
The major advantage to leaving a legally valid will is that the estate will be handled according to the wishes and instructions of the deceased.
Usually, division of estate includes assets such as:
It is important to note that for a will to be considered valid, it must have been properly written, signed and witnessed.
If there are no impediments and the will is considered valid, then the estate will usually be distributed according to the specifications in the will.
In this situation, the estate is divided between the deceased’s closest relatives.
The deceased’s spouse either claims the first $200,000 or makes a claim for half of the net family property, unless a financial dependent makes a claim first. The rest of the estate would then be divided among the spouse and other descendants – usually the deceased’s children.
However, that process is not always as straightforward as it may sound. Often the relatives have to hire a lawyer and go to court resolve how the estate is to be divided.
Such matters can become quite complicated and may turn into a lengthy process, especially if the relatives disagree as to the division of assets. Furthermore, without a valid will to guide them, relatives can end up in costly litigation.
An experienced estates lawyer can guide you on how to plan your estate in a way that ensures your wishes and reduces the likelihood of conflict.