What Is a Last Will and Testament? Why You Need to Know

Are you one of the 68% of Americans who do not have a will? If you are, don’t panic! You are far from alone, but you should put making a will at the top of your to-do list.

You might believe that creating a will is an expensive, unnecessary hassle. Or, you might be wondering to yourself, “Exactly what is a last will and testament?”

Making a will means that your loved ones will be okay in the event of your death. And is there anything more important than that?

So, this short guide will explain what a will is and answer the question, “Do I need a will?” (The short answer is “Yes!”). 

What Is a Last Will and Testament?

So, exactly what is a last will and testament? It is a legal document that details what you want to happen to your estate, assets, and property after you die.

It also details who is to manage the property in the time between your death and the distribution of your property. Your estate could include finances, real estate, dependents, and/or personal belongings.

Why You Should Make a Will

If you do not have a will, you have no control over who gets your property after you die. Spouses most likely receive the property in the event of death with no will, but no other dependents. 

And if you do not have any dependents or spouses, then your property will likely go to a local governing body. So, if you were planning to donate your estate to charity, this will not happen.

It’s also vital to make a will if you are in an unmarried or same-sex relationship. There is no guarantee your partner will get your property after you die, if you leave no will.

And if you don’t think you have enough assets to make a will, that’s untrue. You likely have a nice piece of jewelry or a few dollars in the bank, and a will is the only way you can be sure the right recipient gets them.

Different Types of Wills

There are many types of wills and trusts, e.g. a mystic type of will stays sealed until a person’s death.

The main difference between a will and a trust is control. For example, if you leave $1,000 to a grandchild in your will, they will receive it straight away. But you could put it in a trust so they don’t receive it until they are 21.

How to Make a Last Will and Testament

There are many ways to create a will, but the most common way is to go through an estate planning attorney who will also be your executor.

They will make sure your will is legal and has all the signatures and witnesses it needs.

What is an executor? It’s the person who will look after your estate in the aftermath of your death and distribute it according to the instructions in the will. 

Don’t Delay Making Your Will

Now you know the answer to the question, “What is a last will and testament?” You should make one ASAP. It is the only way you can control your estate after your death. And, it is the only way to have real peace of mind while you are still here.

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