Local Springfield Wills Lawyer Serving Clients in Springfield, Branson and Elsewhere in Missouri
A last will and testament is an essential estate planning tool that allows you to plan how your assets will be treated upon your passing. This legal document is one of the surest ways you can be confident that your family, loved ones, and most cherished non-profit organizations and charities receive any assets, heirlooms, and donations upon your death. Whether you have a complex web of financial assets and investments, a business that requires careful succession planning, or a straightforward list of items you wish to fall into the right hands after your passing, a will, carefully created by a Springfield wills lawyer, can clearly outline your wishes and ensure that everyone who is meant to receive a piece of your estate does upon your death. Failing to leave a living will and testament means the state will determine how and to whom your assets are transferred, which could leave key family members and organizations out of the picture altogether.
What is a Will?
The last will and testament is the document a person signs to provide for the orderly disposition of assets after death. Wills do not cause assets to avoid probate. Wills have no legal authority until the will-maker dies and the original will is delivered to the Probate Court. Still, everyone with minor children needs a will. It is the only way to nominate the new “parent” of an orphaned child. Special testamentary trust provisions in a will can provide for the management and distribution of assets for your heirs, though a trust created during your lifetime is often preferred. Additionally, assets can be arranged and coordinated with provisions of the testamentary trusts to avoid death taxes.
While you might think that a will can be written on your own – particularly if you have a limited amount of assets – the reality is that writing a solid and uncontestable will requires the counsel and experience of a knowledgeable attorney. State requirements regarding wills vary quite broadly, and a will will be considered void and unenforceable if these requirements aren’t met. Similarly, writing a will without understanding the unique and particular issues that often wind up being contested in court could wind up becoming a costly endeavor for your loved ones down the line. Instead, consider speaking with a local Parks & Jones Springfield wills lawyer who can guide your estate planning needs and ensure the will you execute is sound and uncontestable.
General Requirements for a Valid Will
The requirements of a valid will vary from state to state, however there are a handful of requirements that remain relatively stringent no matter where you are located. For example, most states require that the person executing the will be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to create their will and testament. Meeting the requirement of a ‘sound mind’ means that you can prove competence and that you understand what is happening with regard to the creation and signing of your will. Your Springfield wills attorney can assist you if you have any concerns about this criteria being satisfied.
The majority of states also require that at least two witnesses be present upon the signing and execution of your will, and that these witnesses additionally sign the document as a testament to your fitness to enter into such a document.
What is a Living Will?
Sometimes called an Advance Medical Directive, a living will allows you to state your wishes in advance regarding what types of medical life support measures you prefer to have, or have withheld/withdrawn if you are in a terminal condition (without reasonable hope of recovery) and cannot express your wishes yourself. Oftentimes, a living will is executed along with a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, which gives someone legal authority to make your healthcare decisions when you are unable to do so yourself.
Why You Should Hire an Experienced Parks & Jones Local Springfield Wills Lawyer
Hiring an experienced lawyer will ensure that your will cannot be deemed partially or wholly invalid, saving your family and loved ones a costly legal court battle and will contest. Unfortunately, anyone can contest a will, alleging there was fraud or undue influence in its signing and demanding that the will be reconsidered. Working with a Springfield wills attorney will ensure that these issues are considered and planned for in the document’s creation, so the chances that a will contest would be successful are minimal. If you’re considering the best approach for writing your will, contact us online or by calling 877-376-5291 to schedule a free consultation today.