You may think the contents of a last will are just between you and your family. In reality, probate courts will be involved when you use a last will to distribute your assets after you die. To avoid issues with the validity of your will, our Ashland probate lawyer recommends self proving wills.
How wills and probate work
When you create a will, you should nominate an executor in the document. The executor administers the estate after you pass away, and this individual handles the business of the estate. The executor is required to admit the will to probate, and the court determine its validity during this process.
The testator is the person who creates the will. In Kentucky, for a will to be valid, the testator must be a mentally competent adult who is not being defrauded, coerced or intimidated in any way. Plus, two witnesses must usually be present to watch the testator sign the will, and the witnesses must also sign the document. The will could still be valid even if it was not notarized.
What is a Self Proving Will?
The probate process can be time-consuming, and the heirs to the estate cannot receive their inheritances until the court has closed the estate. To speed things up a little, you could create a self proving will. You and the witnesses who watched you sign the will could go to a notary to create a self proving affidavit attesting to the fact that the will was executed under legally binding circumstances. When a self proving will is admitted, the court would not have to seek out the witnesses, and the process could move forward in a more timely fashion.
Beware of do-it-yourself wills
This description may make creating a last will sound very simple. This can lead to the belief that you can do it for yourself without any professional guidance. While this may be possible, be careful before you go this route. In 2012, Consumer Reports magazine advised against DIY estate planning after examining do-it-yourself wills that were created using generic templates that were obtained online. Unfortunately, most people with improper wills will not realize it before their deaths.
Plus, a last will is not the only option for transferring assets. The best choice or choices for distributing assets will depend upon the circumstances. For example, you can use a trust to protect a spendthrift heir who is careless with money. A special needs trust can provide for a loved one who relies on government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
Speak with our Ashland probate lawyer
You should certainly be informed when you are in the process of estate planning. When you are preparing to transfer your wealth to those you love most, you should be certain you are taking the right steps. Our firm can help you explore your options.
Join us for a FREE seminar today! If you have questions regarding self proving wills or any other probate or estate planning matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at The Potter Law Firm for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (606) 324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or at (859) 372-6655 (Florence, KY), or for individuals in North Carolina (704) 944-3245 (Charlotte, NC, and Huntersville, NC).