Preparing Wills is a large part of our practice. Wills can be used to make outright gifts to family, friends or charities, or to create Trusts that come into existence at death. A Will controls only what happens to a person’s Probate Assets, so it is important for anyone who creates a Will to understand the difference between Probate Assets and Non-Probate Assets (click on this Probates & Estates link for a brief overview).
A Will determines not only what will happen to a person’s Probate Assets after they die, but also who will have authority to manage and distribute those assets. When you create a Will, you can nominate the person you would like to have such authority. This person is referred to as the Personal Representative. Typically, one or more alternates are named as well. A Will provides instructions to the Personal Representative on how to distribute Probate Assets. The Personal Representative has a legal duty to pay debts and taxes, make any special payments required by law, and then distribute any remaining Probate Assets in accordance with the Will.
Parents of minor children usually nominate guardians in their Wills. These nominations can be very valuable. All changes in custody must be approved by the court to ensure the fitness of the nominated person(s) for parenting, but the court places tremendous weight on guardian nominations by natural or adoptive parents.
If you create a Will, we’ll help you find the best fit for you and your family.