The most traditional way to ensure the transfer of property and the fulfillment of one’s wishes after death is to create a will. A will is a testamentary document that instructs an executor how to distribute a person’s property upon their passing. Failure to create a valid will can result in the court making these important decisions for you.
A Manhattan wills lawyer could help you craft a valid estate plan that provides instructions for after your death. An experienced attorney could explain the laws that govern proper will creation and ensure your documents meet every legal requirement.
Wills are not for the aging population. In fact, under Kansas Statute § 59-601, so long as person is at least 18 years of age and of sound mind, they are eligible to create a will.
While the age requirements to create a will are minimal, there are more specific rules regarding the form this document must take. According to Kansas Statute § 59-606, a written will must contain the testator’s signature, or they must instruct another person to do it on their behalf. This signing must occur in the presence of two or more witnesses who must also sign the will. All these signatures must occur in the presence of a notary public or other official with the power to acknowledge a signing.
Once this is complete, a will has legal power until either the testator destroys the document or signs a new will. Once a testator dies, any party may submit the will to the court, and the probate process begins. A knowledgeable attorney in the area could help parties understand the legal requirements for creating a valid will.
While there are strict rules concerning the creation of a will, the contents of a will are largely up to the testator. The most common role of a will is to determine what is to be done with a person’s property, include cash, physical items, financial instruments, real estate, and business interests, upon the creator’s passing.
Wills can also nominate a person who takes on the responsibility of ensuring that the other terms of the will come to fruition. This person is called the executor. Any party who is at least 18 years old is eligible to serve in this role. Choosing a correct executor is important to ensure that one’s wishes are followed during the probate process.
Finally, many people use wills to disinherit people who might stand to be an heir under the state’s intestacy laws. According to these laws, the state presumes that a person’s surviving spouse and children are the heirs to an estate. However, language in a will that specifically disinherits these people and gives their share of an estate to another party takes precedence. A wills lawyer in Manhattan could help parties identify their goals when crafting a will.
Creating a will remains the most common way that people pass property to others after death. These documents carry full legal effect, and the executors of wills have a duty under the law to ensure that the terms of the will are followed through. However, failure to follow the requirements when creating a will could see a challenge arise in probate court that undermines your wishes.
A Manhattan wills lawyer could help you create testamentary documents that both satisfy the legal requirements and specify your wishes for after your death. Reach out to our team today to schedule an appointment.