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Frequently Asked Questions - Last Will
 
1. What is a Last Will?
2. What if I die without a Will
3. What is Probate court?
4. What happens to my children if I die without a will?
5. Can I change or revoke my Will
6. What if I currently have a Last Will but cannot locate it?
7. What if I get married or divorced?
8. What are the requirements to make a valid Will?
9. What if I have no assets and no family?
10. What is a Personal Representative?
   
 
 
1. What is a Last Will?
  A. Will is a document which states the desires of a person when they die. The will is the governing document of a process called ‘probate’, which is a court proceeding held to distribute your estate. The maker of a Will appoints a ‘personal representative’ to carry out the distribution of property to named ‘beneficiaries’. A Last Will also appoints guardians for minor children and states any special or last wishes you may have. Without a Will, a court will make these important decisions for you.
 
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2. What if I die without a Will
  With or without a Last Will, probate court is needed to distribute your estate. If you pass away without a Will, you are said to have died ‘intestate’. By definition, a Last Will is the instruction manual for the court as to ‘who gets what’ of your estate. Without the instructions of your Will, the court will go down the ‘order of succession’ of your family. Generally, your estate will pass in the following order: (1) decedent’s surviving spouse, (2) decedent’s children, (3) decedent’s parents (if no spouse or children), (4) decedent’s brothers and sisters (if parents deceased), (5) next blood relatives, and as a last resort (6) the State in which you live. The State will also appoint a guardian for your minor children until they become adults.
 
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3. What is Probate court?
  This is the court process of determining ‘who gets what’ after a person dies. A Last Will facilitates the probate process, becoming the instruction manual for the judge. If you die with a will, you are said to have died ‘testate’. If you die without a will, you have died ‘intestate’. Probate may take longer if you die without a will. Generally, probate is avoided with at Living Trust.
 
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4. What happens to my children if I die without a will?
  If you die without a Will, the probate court will appoint a Guardian for your minor children (a minor is considered under the age of 18). A Will allows you to choose a Guardian to care for your minor children through the set-up of a Testamentary Trust. A Guardian will manage any property left to minor children or incompetent individuals until they reach a specified age.
 
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5. Can I change or revoke my Will
  Yes, you can amend your will at any time using a ‘codicil’. This document changes certain portions of your will, leaving all other terms unchanged. You may also create a new Will which will deem any prior Wills null and void. If you wish to revoke your Will, simply destroy it by tearing it up or burning it
 
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6. What if I currently have a Last Will but cannot locate it?
  No problem. When you create a new Last Will, there are provisions to declare all previous Wills null and void. This avoids any confusion as to your intentions. CreateLegalDocs.com is here to help draft a new Will for you.
 
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7. What if I get married or divorced?
  If you write a Will when you are single and get married, your spouse will be granted state-specific rights to your assets. If you write a Will while married and get divorced, your ‘ex’ will automatically not have right to your estate. In either case, it is a good idea to rewrite your Will to clear up any confusion.
 
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8. What are the requirements to make a valid Will?
  The maker of the Will must be at least 18 years old, of sound mind, and capable of personally signing the Will. A minimum of two witnesses (three required in Vermont) must clearly observe the testator signing the Will. Witnesses should not be beneficiaries to the Will and should be at least18 years old. It is not necessary to notarize your Last Will. However, it is recommended to sign and notarize a ‘Self Proving Affidavit’. This is a document which ‘proves’ that the Will was properly signed and witnessed in the presence of a notary public. Many states accept this document in lieu of tracking down witnesses of a Will. The minimum number of witnesses required for a Will to be valid is two. CreateLegalDocs.com recommends using three witness signatures and a Self Proving Affidavit. This adds a layer of protection should witnesses be unavailable or if the court will not admit the self proving affidavit for any reason.
 
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9. What if I have no assets and no family?
  A will does not only distribute your assets, it also allows you to make any last wishes or demands. For example, you can specify where your remains will lie, to be buried or cremated, appoint someone to care for your pet, etc.
 
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10. What is a Personal Representative?
  This is the person, also known as ‘executor’, who is responsible for distributing your estate to the beneficiaries when you die. This person is appointed by you, so be sure that you select someone who is trustworthy and up to the task of these responsibilities.
 
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