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Last Will & Testament

Upon a person’s death, their assets are passed to those legally entitled to receive them. The court practice overseeing this is called the probate process. If you create a will, you may choose who receives which assets. If you do not create a will, state law will determine who receives them. Your will is also the place you name guardians to care for your minor children and those you would like to tactfully exclude from consideration.

When do I need one?

When any of the following is true:

You have minor children. Your will is the place when you designate who will care for your children if you and their other parent is unable.

You own things. By establishing a will you can ensure the orderly passing of your things to loved ones. If you don’t have a properly crafted will, the court will distribute your things according to state law and may make your loved one put up money (post a bond) in order to be appointed to oversee the court process. Inkwell recommends everyone who turns 18 have a simple will in place. While you may not own things initially, this is when you start to accumulate assets, and a comprehensive legal plan includes a will to properly transfer these assets upon your passing.

You have a power of appointment. A power of what? Don’t worry, this is a term that is unfamiliar to most people. A power of appointment is a power that allows someone, the powerholder, to change how assets held in a trust are distributed. Typically, this power is exercised under the terms of the powerholder’s will. If you are unsure if you have a power of appointment, an Inkwell attorney can tell you how you can typically find out if you are a powerholder.

What happens if I don't have one?

If you don’t have a properly crafted will, the court will distribute your things according to state law and will make your family member overseeing this process put up money (post a bond) in order to be appointed to oversee the court process.

When is the document effective?

A will is only effective upon your death, but you may amend or replace it during your lifetime.

Example of When You Would Need
this Document Per Life Stage

Adulthood

My child is 18 and doesn’t own anything, do they really need a will? At Inkwell we create plans to help our clients and their loved ones prepare for not only what is probable, but also what is possible. In the event of a premature death, a simple will can make the passing of whatever assets your child has at that time a much easier process. Also, in the event that you and your spouse are divorced, Inkwell can prepare a plan that is equitable.

Married

A newly married couple is involved in a serious car accident. The husband survives the wife by a week, but ultimately ends up succumbing to his injuries as well. Neither spouse had prepared a will. Under state law, the husband’s family is entitled to both his assets and his wife’s assets because he survived her by more than 120 hours.

With Kids

In the event that both you and your spouse die, a court will be required to determine who will care for your minor children. Without clear instructions and a will in place, well-meaning family members may fight over who gets your children causing unnecessary stress in an already difficult time.

Moving

States have different default rules that govern how wills distribute your property.  It’s a good idea to have an attorney licensed in your new home state review your will to ensure your will operates the way you intend under the laws of your new home state.

Solo

If you do not revisit your legal plan after the loss of or divorce from a spouse, upon your death, your assets may end up having to be probated, causing additional burdens on your loved ones. Your former spouse may even be entitled to receive some of your assets.

My child is 18 and doesn’t own anything, do they really need a will? At Inkwell we create plans to help our clients and their loved ones prepare for not only what is probable, but also what is possible. In the event of a premature death, a simple will can make the passing of whatever assets your child has at that time a much easier process. Also, in the event that you and your spouse are divorced, Inkwell can prepare a plan that is equitable.

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