What can a will do — and what can it not?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2021 | Firm News |

It is not always pleasant to think about the finality of death, but in the end most of us have some idea of what we want for our heirs and loved ones. Estate planning can be a way for you to make provisions for your death during your lifetime, which can give you a sense of peace and can help your loved ones through a difficult time. The cornerstone of most estate plans is a will. While wills can accomplish many goals, but there are some things that a will cannot do.

What can a will do?

In your will, you will name the people you want to inherit your assets after you die. You have the right to dispose of your assets as you wish. You can give assets to relatives or charities who may not inherit should you die without a will. Wills can be simple or complex, depending on your goals. Wills can work hand-in-hand with trusts. You can designate a guardian for your minor children in your will. You can also name a person in your will who will see the terms of the will carried out. This person is known as the executor or personal representative.

What can a will not do?

While wills can do many things, there are limits. Most states have heirship laws meaning you cannot always disinherit a spouse and sometimes your children. Also, if you have assets that have a beneficiary designation such as life insurance or if you have assets such as a home with joint right of survivorship, then those assets will pass to the named beneficiaries or persons despite what you may say in your will. Thus, it is a good idea to review beneficiary designations when you are executing your will.

Learn more about wills

People in the McMinnville area who do not yet have a will may want to consider executing one as soon as possible. While many wills are not that complex there are certain legal requirements that come with executing a valid will. And, should you want a more complex will, doing it yourself may not be possible or desirable. Fortunately, you can work with a professional when creating a will to ensure all formalities are met and your wishes will be seen through.