A will, or a Last Will and Testament, is the central piece of any estate plan. A will properly drafted and signed is a document that specifies exactly how you want your property distributed upon your death. Your will identifies a few key people: first, it will identify who you would like to serve as your Executor, also known as your Personal Representative. Your Personal Representative will also gather all of your assets and pay off any debts you have before distributing all of your property according to how you have explained within your will. The second person your will may identify is who you nominate to serve as guardian for your children, should you pass away before your children reach the age of 18.
The law is very specific about what may and may not legally qualify as a valid will. Because of the importance of a will, the document must be reviewed by the Probate Court and determined to be valid by the Probate Court at the start of the estate proceedings before any of the Will may be treated as valid. A will that is missing any of the requirements, like having the correct number of witnesses or including the proper language, will not be accepted by the Probate Court and will not be a legally binding document. There are often documents available from the internet that are available for you to complete yourself, but those forms have no assurance that what is created will be accepted by the court, or properly explain your wishes. The documents generated by such sources may not take into account your individual circumstances.
“The costs for a will with competent legal help is well worth the small investment.”
A carefully prepared last will and testament from a capable law firm working with you is your best assurance that your plans will be realized after your death. In comparison to the stakes involved in making an error, the costs for a will with competent legal help is well worth the investment.
Our clients almost universally choose to keep their original wills and other estate documents for safekeeping at our office at no extra charge. They take copies and have copies sent to their fiduciary nominees and sometimes their beneficiaries with information that the original is at our office. This way, the original does not get lost or locked away where no one can find it or access it. Oddly enough to many people, a bank safe deposit box is perhaps the worst place to keep your will. After you die, no one else can open the box without a court order to have the box drilled and accessed at considerable expense.
The best place to begin preparing your estate planning documents is by calling our office at (603) 224-6999 or by filling out this form. Our intake specialist will be happy to get your basic information and set up the first meeting.