A last will and testament, or “will,” is a legal document by which a person directs the distribution of his or her property after death. A person who creates a will is referred to as a “testator.” A Will may be revoked or changed by the testator at any time before the testator’s death.
In order to write a valid will, a person must be at least 18 years old and have testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity means that the testator knows that a will disposes of his or her assets after death, knows who the testator’s relatives and friends are and that the testator knows the approximate nature and extent of his or her assets.
Besides directing to whom certain assets are to pass upon death, a will can also contain provisions which create one or more trusts for the benefit of a loved one after the testator’s death. A trust created/drafted into a last will and testament is known as a testamentary trust, and these trust are frequently used when the testator wishes to leave property to a disabled child or wishes to reduce the amount of taxes his or her estate will have to pay upon the testator’s passing.
It’s wise to revisit your will frequently. Tax laws changes; people get divorced; beneficiaries die; charitable intentions change; assets grow and diminish; children get married; and executors get older or pass away.
If you’d like advice on the appropriateness of your current will, or if you’d like to draft a new last will and testament, please do not hesitate to contact our office.