New Hampshire Wills Lawyers
Most people know they need a will but just haven’t gotten around to doing it. It never seems like the right time. Do yourself, and more importantly your family, a favor and commit to getting it done. Let the wills lawyers at Cohen & Winters make sure your affairs are in order.
What is a Will?
A will is a legally binding document that dictates your property will be distributed after you pass away. Many people choose to use a revocable living trust as the centerpiece of their estate plan. In that case, it is still important to have a will as a backup in case any assets are left in the trust. Other people elect not to use a trust or other probate avoidance planning, in which case the will is the primary document to dispose of assets.
What Are Some Common Provisions in a Will?
The most fundamental element of a will is indicating which survivors inherit which assets. This can be stated in terms of specific gifts or percentages, or both. Primary beneficiaries are named in the first instance. Then there are contingent beneficiaries, who will inherit only if the primary beneficiaries have already passed away.
The will also usually nominates an administrator (also called an executor). This is the person responsible for making sure that the assets are distributed as the will states. The administrator is the one to make reports to the probate court certifying that everything is being carried out as indicated.
Another good use of a will is to nominate a guardian for any minor children. A judge has the final decision as to a guardian. However, most judges usually accept the request stated in a will unless there is a strong reason to reject it.
What Happens if you Die Without a Will?
Many people believe that if they die without a will, all of their money will go to the state. This is almost never the case. In fact, if a person dies without a will the law calls this “intestacy.”” Every state, including New Hampshire, has specific laws that say how much money survivors get when there is no will. As you would expect, the spouse is first in line to get the most followed by children and then more distant relatives. However, the exact mechanics of it can get complicated, particularly if the person who dies has children by someone other than his or her current spouse. Regardless, it is always a bad idea to to rely on these rules, and that is never a good reason to avoid writing a will.
Contact the Lawyers at Cohen & Winters About Helping You Prepare a Will
If you do not have a will please contact us. Our estate planning lawyers would be happy to discuss how we can help you with this critical document.