Last Will

Many people say that they do not have a Last Will, but, in reality, everyone has a Last Will. The article below explains why. More informative articles, ebooks, and forms on Last Will, Legal Wills, and Last Will And Testament are linked to

Everyone, Including You, Has A Last Will And Testament

Yes, you have a Last Will (also known as Last Will And Testament, Will, etc.). The only question is whether you wrote your own Last Will or the state legislature wrote it for you.

A Last Will is a statement of what is to happen to your property and minor children upon your death. As a society, we must have an orderly process for handling a deceased person's affairs and minor children. Without an orderly process, upon someone's death, anyone and everyone could simply take whatever they wanted, including property and minor children. It would be "free for all" when someone died.

Each state has two sets of laws.

One set of laws provides the legal framework within which you may make your own statement of what you would like done with your property and minor children upon your death. We commonly refer to this statement as a Last Will or Last Will And Testament. To make sure that such a statement is really your last wishes, and not a fraud, state laws require certain actions. For example, the statement must clearly show an intent that it becomes effective upon your death and not before. Generally, the statement must be signed by you and signed by two or three witnesses who were present and saw you sign it. Some states allow verbal Last Wills or handwritten unwitnessed Last Wills, but these are the exception and not the rule.

The second set of laws are applicable to people who have died, but either did not write their own Last Will or the Last Will that they wrote failed to satisfy the legal requirements. We refer to these second set of laws as intestacy laws. Every state is different. Some states say that the property passes to the Spouse and Children jointly while other states say that the property passes to the Spouse only. Also many states handle different types of property differently. Land and homes are considered to be "real property". All other property is considered to be "personal property". A state may say that the "real property" passes to the Spouse only and that the "personal property" passes to both the Spouse and Children. As you can see, while we may not refer to these intestacy laws as a Last Will, they really are a Last Will because, collectively, they are a statement of what is to be done with your property and minor children upon your death.

So, you actually have a Last Will. If you want to have your say as to what happens to your property and minor children, you must write your own Last Will. If you don't, the state's intestacy laws are your Last Will and say what happens to your property and minor children upon your death.

Two things to keep in mind. First, in most states, it is extremely difficult for your property to go to the state upon your death. Generally, you would have to die without your own Last Will and without any relatives whatsoever that can be found. It is a myth that without your own Last Will, your property will go to the state.

Second, you should understand that not all property is covered by a Last Will written by you and that state laws may change your wishes expressed in your Last Will And Testament. What you have in mind with regards to your Last Will may not be effective or legal.

The above information is general information only. For specific questions or clarification, contact a lawyer licensed in your state.

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