The Importance of Having a Will
Before death and Youngtown, AZ cremations, one of the most important things that people can do is to create a will or update an existing will. Wills serve many purposes and they ensure that your final wishes for your estate are carried out.
If someone dies without a will, the legal term for this is dying intestate. That means that their estate will go into probate for the legal system to inventory their assets, determine their liabilities (debt), then use the assets to pay off the debts, and distribute the remaining amount (if any) of the estate as they see fit to immediate family. This can cause a lot of problems in both the short-term and the long-term.
In the short-term, unless assets are jointly held with another family member, they will be frozen and inaccessible to the family until the probate process is complete. This means mortgages, car payments, household expenses, and any other normal expenses can’t be paid out of the estate’s accounts. If those accounts are the primary source of revenue, houses might go into foreclosure, cars could be repossessed, and utilities shut off, leaving family members in very dire straits.
When net assets are distributed after debts have been paid, the court will decide who gets what. This usually does not go well among family members, who wanted or may have been promised something they didn’t get. The disputes and wrangling can create rifts that last a long time or can literally break the family irreparably apart.
No one wants to leave their family in this kind of situation, so having a will ensure that your wishes are known as to how you want your estate distributed and so that assets will be available to pay both outstanding debts and regular expenses.
Wills, regardless of how complicated some can be, are actually very simple legal instruments. The first part of a will designates someone to execute the will. That person is in charge of making sure that the provisions of the will are done exactly as they are specified. The executor should be a trusted family member or a trusted friend (make sure they are willing to do this before naming them).
Although it is not required, it is customary for the executor to get a small fee for executing the will (no more than 10% of assets, although a dollar amount can be specified). A backup executor should be named in case the primary executor is unable to carry out their duties (due to cognitive impairment or death),
Next, a will lists beneficiaries of the estate. Although most of the time, these will be close family members, they can also be friends to whom a person wants to leave specific items or things that the family would not have any interest in or appreciate. The estate is divided among the beneficiaries. It’s important to make sure that things should go to specific people are clearly stated in the will. As with the executor, secondary beneficiaries should be named, in case primary beneficiaries die before the will is executed. If beneficiaries are under the age of 21 and the bequests are monetary, they should be held in trust by a family member or friend until the children turn 21. Again, this person should be someone of impeccable character who will not steal from the trust.
The final part of a will is a signature and a date. This is now a legal document. However, it’s advisable to have it witnessed by three non-family members and notarized.
For more information on Youngtown, AZ cremations, our compassionate and experienced team at Simply Cremation & Funeral Arrangements is here to help. You can come to our funeral home at 16952 W. Bell Rd., #303, Surprise, AZ, 85374, or you can contact us today at (623) 975-9393.