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Why Do You Need a Will? / York, PA

Bigstock-Family-Portrait-At-Christmas-4881212This article gives the example of a businessman who had named his son as the nominee in all his investments. Since the son was managing all the father's investments, it was convenient. But since the businessman passed away without making a will, now his daughter is finding it difficult to prove that she, too, has a right over her father's investments. In fact, in the case of the father's equity investments, the daughter may not get anything. The daughter has to get a judge involved, which is cumbersome and can get sticky.

One of the big reasons to make a will is to distribute the wealth as you want and avoid many of the headaches and expenses for your heirs, especially when you have immovable properties and disputes over their value. This caution is discussing in a recent article in The Business Standard titled "Why you should make a will." If there is no will and more than one legal heir, the distribution of assets is conducted by the court under probate law. This can be time-consuming and cumbersome.

Does the will need to be in a specific format?  

Generally it doesn't, but it must be properly signed and attested for it to be effective.

A will can be written in any language, but the words should be clear and unambiguous so that there's no question about the testator's intentions. The assets in the will should be detailed, as well as the recipient. The person executing the will should sign it, and it should be witnessed by two who saw the testator sign the will. The Business Standard reminds us to avoid a conflict of interest and not have a beneficiary or heir attest a will as a witness. Your estate planning attorney can help you with this.

Does a will need to be registered?

The registration of a will isn't required, but this does provide evidence that the proper steps have been taken.

What about an executor?

The testator appoints an executor to administer the will. It can be anyone he or she is comfortable with and trusts. It can be a family member, friend, attorney, or another individual. The executor is tasked with carrying out the instructions in the will for the distribution of the property and other assets.

For more answers to questions like these, take a look at the original article and speak to an experienced estate planning attorney.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: The Business Standard (October 19, 2014)  "Why you should make a will"

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