A Will (Testate) is a legal document that directs the disposition of property owned by an individual at the time of death. It may be revised or amended by a codicil at any point prior to death. It must be signed and witnessed usually by two or more people.
All wills have an “Executor”, which is appointed by the decedent prior to death. The “Beneficiaries” are the individuals who would receive the assets as outlined in the legal document.
All wills are subject to probate, in layman terms that means that a court preceding must take place prior to any assets being dispersed. There are some advantages and advantages of going through probate:
- Minimizes the possibility of future claims against the estate by heirs and creditors
- It delays distributions (meaning, it will be a while before any money or other assets are dispersed)
- Increased costs of estate administration (court costs, executor’s fees and lawyer fees)
- All information is available to the public (everyone will know your business)