Distribute Your Estate as Intended
A will is a personal declaration of your intentions regarding the disposition of your property upon death. Everybody should have one (it sits alongside your living trust), and since a will does not become legally enforceable until your death, it may be changed at any time before the maker’s (or testator’s) death or mental incompetence.
A properly drafted will contains instructions for your personal representative: the executor. The executor is responsible for administering your estate.
A will offers many advantages enabling you to control (to a large extent) what happens after you are gone.
With a will, you can:
- Choose the executor.
- Designate a guardian for minor children or others unable to fully care for themselves.
- Distribute your property to beneficiaries you choose.
A person who dies without a will dies “intestate.” Dying intestate can be unnecessarily costly for your heirs and leaves you with no specific say about who receives your assets or in what proportion those assets will be distributed.
Some assets, such as individual retirement accounts and life insurance proceeds, bypass a will entirely and go directly to the beneficiaries listed and filed with the financial firm that handles those products. Otherwise, the state decides who gets your assets. Each state has a prescribed order for the distribution of property of those who die with no will.
A will only transfers property that you own in your name alone. Therefore, the property you own as a joint tenant with right of survivorship or property that passes by beneficiary designation, such as life insurance proceeds or retirement assets, cannot be transferred by will.
For more information on Wills, please contact Alliance Trust Company.