A video explaining what a will and a last will and testament is

You can learn more about wills and last will and testaments here.

Will and Last Will and Testament

Wills and Last Will and Testaments are legal documents that provide instructions for what should happen to a person’s assets after their passing. The term “last will and testament” is used inter changeably with the term “will”. Although they both commonly refer to the same thing, to be exact, a last will and testament refers to the most recent version of a will. A last will and testament is commonly used to distribute a person property, such as real estate, possessions, cash, investments or business interests. It may also be used to appoint legal guardians for minors or people with special needs that require a guardian. If a person dies without a will, they are said to be intestate, and state intestacy laws govern the distribution of the property of the person who passed.

How to draft a Last Will and Testament

Can a person draft their own last will and testament? The simple answer is yes. A person can draft their own Last Will and Testament, but we suggest you seek the assistance of a legal professional. Estate planning can be complicated. In most situations a professional estate planner can help you avoid pitfalls and potentially allow your beneficiaries to avoid unnecessary taxes. If you prefer to draft your own will, you will want to make sure that it meets the validity requirements of the state you are a resident of. As an example, here are some of California’s Last Will and Testament requirements:

  • You must be of sound mind
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must make your will freely and voluntarily
  • Your will must exists in a physical written or printed form
  • You must sign your will in the presence of two or more competent and disinterested witnesses, who also sign the will or last will and testament at the same time

A last will and testament is just one way of handling estate planning matters. In some cases a trust may be a better option for you. A trust may allow your beneficiaries / heirs to avoid the probate process. If you are trying to decide how to provide for the distribution of your assets or care of your children after you die or need legal assistance, you should contact a lawyer for guidance.