Who Needs a Will?
Every adult should have a will. Many Americans put off creating a will because discussing death is not comfortable. Yet, taking care of this is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give their loved ones. After a death, especially an unexpected death, a grieving family often struggles with making decisions and determining how the assets of the deceased person are to be distributed. A current will eliminates one of the struggles the family otherwise faces. Even if there is a trust (briefly discussed below), a will is important as there may be assets which are overlooked and not transferred to the trust, or other issues which should and could be addressed by a will.
When you create a will, you legally document your wishes about very important matters:
- Who will care for any surviving minor children or children with special needs?
- Who will serve as your personal representative (previously called “executor”), the person responsible for presenting your will to the court and carrying out the instructions in the will?
- How will assets which are subject to the will, be administered and distributed?
Probate is the court where your will is probated or proven to be truly your wishes. The personal representative you have identified presents your will to the probate court. The judge then will review it and decide whether to accept the will. If it is accepted, the will moves forward in the probate process.