A Will is signed writing in which a person (often referred to as the “testator”) directs what is to be done with his or her property after death. Each state has its own very specific laws as to what is necessary for a Will to be valid in that state. Any mentally competent person who is at least 18 years old may make a Will.
However, later proof of any fraud, duress, or undue influence by another person or the testator may cause the Will to be invalid.
Who Should Have a Will… and Why?
Every mentally competent adult should have a Will. Here are a few of the reasons:
• You can direct how you want your property divided at your death.
• You can name the person you want to handle you estate (called the “executor” or “personal representative”).
• You can reduce the expenses of administering your estate.
• You can save taxes.
• You can nominate a guardian for your minor children.
• You may provide for a trust for the support and education of your children without the necessity of costly court proceedings.
Does a Will Need to Be Witnessed? Does a Will Need to Be Notarized?
Generally, most states require that the signing of a Will must be witnessed by two competent persons, who also must sign the Will in front of the testator. (An exception to the witness requirement is made if the testator writes out the entire Will in his or her own handwriting, and signs and dates it.) Although the law does not require a Will to be notarized, it is a highly recommended practice, followed by most lawyers. If the testator’s and witnesses’ signatures have been notarized, the will is presumed to be properly executed and is accepted by the court without testimony from the witness.
How Long is Will Valid?
Your Will is valid until you revoke it generally either by physical destruction (tearing or burning it up, for example) or by signing a superseding Will or written revocation. However, if you get divorced after signing a Will, the law may consider the Will partially revoked. Also, if you are married, your spouse may have rights in your estate regardless of what is provided in your Will.
Can a Will Be Changed?
Your Will does not take effect until you die; therefore, it can be changed at any time during your life as long as you are mentally competent. Traditionally, Wills were changed by an amending instrument called a “codicil,” but with the development of modern word processing technology, it is usually better and just as easy to sign an entirely new Will when you wish to make changes.
What Happens If You Don’t Have a Will?
If you don’t have a Will, a state statute directs who receives you property, regardless of your wishes. For example, in Magna Utah, if you are married, your estate generally passes entirely to your surviving spouse; however, if you have children who are not also the children of your spouse, your children divided two-third of your estate, and your spouse takes the other one-third.
Is Joint Ownership a Good Substitute For a Will?
In most cases, joint ownership is not an acceptable substitute for a Will. Contrary to popular belief, joint ownership of assets between husband and wife often results in excessive estate takes. Joint ownership between parent and child may foster disputes between family members and cause unexpected and unnecessary gift taxes.
Is a Trust (Also referred to as a Revocable Living Trust) a Substitute for a Will?
A properly funded Revocable (“Living”) Trust can be a valuable and important part of the estate plan for many people, but it does not eliminate the need for a Will. If you have a Living Trust, you will still need a Will to dispose of those assets that have not or cannot be placed into the Trust. As useful as they are, Living Trusts are not appropriate for everyone. Only your lawyer can tell you if you should consider one, and only you lawyer should prepare it.
Who Should Draft Your Will?
A person who drafts a Will must be familiar with the law in order to avoid the many pitfalls and to comply with the formalities necessary to assure the Will’s validity. Only a practicing lawyer is professionally qualified to give you advice regarding your Will, to prepare your Will, and to supervise it’s signing.
Planning your financial affairs, and coordinating this with your estate plan, is a very personal and individual matter. You should decide for yourself the general purpose you wish to accomplish, and then consult with a seasoned estate planning attorney, financial advisor, and CPA if you want to have a coordinated and comprehensive plan, which integrates and accomplishes all of your financial goals and objectives.
Four practical steps to save time and help assure a sound result:
1. Inventory you assets. List in reasonable detail all of your property, real and personal, life insurance policies, and retirement plan, with your best assessment of their values.
2. Inventory your liabilities: List all debts and obligations, including principal amounts, payees, and essential terms.
3. List your family members and any other persons whom you wish to participate in your estate. Decide who might be an appropriate executor, trustee, or guardian for your minor children.
4. Decide what you want to accomplish. Determine what your objectives are, and to whom you wish your assets distributed.
Getting Started is Easy: It just takes five easy steps, where your only cost will be your time:
• Step One: Spend some time with your existing financial advisor, or an experienced financial advisor in your local area, so you can review the basic details your “big picture financial plan” together
• Step Two: Your financial advisor will review this information and help you assess confirm exactly what your estate planning needs and preferences are
• Step Three: Once your financial advisor reviews your overall estate planning needs, they can help you understand exactly how Wills and Trusts work, as well as which one they feel fits your situation best
• Step Four: After you are fully comfortable and confident with their recommendation, you can consult with a seasoned estate planning attorney who can help you properly draft these documents and details
• Step Five: Arguably the most important step, and often overlooked, is making sure that your estate planning attorney, financial advisor, and CPA are all working together to ensure all of your estate plans and preferences are coordinated and working properly with your “big picture financial plan”.
Do You Need an Estate Plan?
For many, the idea of creating an estate plan is something they’ll do “later.” As in when they’re older, when they have more “stuff” or whenever they have some time to actually sit down and do it. But putting off creating your estate plan isn’t a good idea, and I’ll tell you why. Funerals can cost a pretty penny these days so even college students who live at home and have very few assets should at least have a life insurance policy to cover funeral expenses. If you own a car or a baseball card collection or a diamond ring – and everyone owns “something”, someone will have to inherit that property. And if you’ve got ideas about who you’d want your belongings to go to, you need a Will to ensure your wishes are honored. As you get older and start accumulating assets, you’re effectively creating an estate that will have to be distributed. Even the most modest estates will have to be probated and if your assets can’t cover your taxes and outstanding debts, your family may end up inheriting nothing at all.
Do you have a family? Ensuring that your loved ones are protected and provided for is a key component of a good estate plan. Your plan can set aside money for debts and ensure that your kids can go to college or that your spouse can pay off the family home. Without a plan, your family may be left with a mountain of debt and no real resources to pay it off.
Do you have family heirlooms that you’ve promised to a specific someone? A Will or Trust would ensure those heirs receive that property but without a valid plan, the state has the honor of deciding who gets what and that may or may not be in line with your wishes. Of course, these are just a few of the reasons you need an estate plan and exactly which documents you’ll need will depend upon your individual goals. The best way to ensure that your assets and loved ones are fully protected is to consult with a professional estate planning attorney.
Ensure That Your Assets Reach the Right Beneficiaries With Estate Planning In Advance
Out of many of us take up estate planning as seriously as we should. There is a common misconception among people that planning of estates is meant for only landlords, with wealthy and rich families. Well, that is not the fact! Regardless of the size of your home or estate, you should have an advance planning in place for managing all your assets, and that includes your bank account, household goods, vehicles, and life insurance as well.
Do you want all your assets to go into right hands?
If your answer is yes, then it becomes imperative for you to make advance estate planning. It also helps you ensure that your children are taken care of properly, if you unfortunately pass away. In this post, we shall see what property planning can actually do for you.
Advance Planning of Estate and Its Benefits
When it comes to property planning, most of the people feel that it something complex, difficult, and time consuming. Well, you can download legal documents like the will template, trust, etc over the net. However, these documents are not customized to meet your individual needs, and they are not legally enforceable. This is exactly why, hiring an experienced and well qualified property lawyer. Your estate planning lawyer will help you execute all the legal procedures to prepare your will in advance. Knowing that your will is already in place, you can live with peace of mind about your future. You can get following benefits by making your estate planning in advance with assistance from professional lawyers.
• You will get the choice of deciding who will look after your children after you pass away. You can also choose an alternative, where the court will offer suitable solution to your issue.
• You can decide on how all your financial assets are to be handled, and by whom. Your instructions will be strictly followed after you.
• You can choose to handover everything, or fractions of your estate to your children, or your spouse. In fact, you can also choose any other person to receive your assets too.
• If you wish to secure the future of any individual who is disabled, then a ‘special needs trust’ can be set up to handle this matter.
• You could also choose to lighten the burden on your family members by making advance planning of your own funeral arrangements.
• Your assets and properties will promptly get distributed to respective beneficiaries without any issues.
• A good property planning lawyer will help you save time and money involved in getting the paperwork done.
• A professionally drafted estate plan will also help you reduce the taxes involved with your assets.
• If you are injured, then the management of all your financial and medical affairs could be done in advance.
• Advance planning of your assets will help ensure the company/companies you own continue to run efficiently, even without your presence.
Estate Planning Isn’t All About Lawyers
You’re First Consideration, whether you are a young adult of age 18 or a senior of age 65 plus, you need to set up a viable estate plan that protects and provides your loved ones with financial security. So who then should be considered the best possible combination of professionals needed in setting up such a valuable plan?
Make no mistake, there are books and a multitude of software packages available containing pre-written legal documents that are available for your purchase and subsequent use. However, bear in mind Federal laws change and State laws vary on estate planning issues. An outdated form or one containing the incorrect legal terminology can most certainly invalidate or at minimum, create an extended probate of what you thought was a drum-tight estate plan. However, when it comes to estate planning and all the complex legal issues, I’d also be the first to highly recommend one seek the advice of the schooled professionals.
ATTORNEY – Like many professional fields, attorneys as well have specific fields and levels of competence. So, you do not need a criminal lawyer, patent attorney, bankruptcy or medical malpractice specialist configuring your estate plan. Usually a good estate planning attorney can be found under the Family Practice area of expertise. These attorneys are highly capable in drafting wills and preparing the many trusts available for your consideration should you decide such an instrument is needed. There are many other documents available as well and these practicing attorneys are schooled in the essential elements needed to satisfy specific legal requirements. To narrow down your search needs, see my article “Selecting an Estate Planning Attorney.”
In conclusion , just as in the current day real estate market, within the estate planning market, it is a buyer’s market as well. So remember, you are doing the hiring! You are not the one being employed and as such, despite the wealth of legal knowledge your team has, you remain in charge of the decision making process. You are the boss and the estate plan you decide upon is a final decision you make based upon your teams professional and legal advice.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506
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|Etymology: Kennecott Copper’s Magna Mill;
Latin word meaning “great” or “superior”
|First Settled (as Pleasant Green)||1868|
|Given Township Status||2001|
|Incorporated as a Metro Township||2017|
|• Municipal Administrator||Greg Shulz|
|• Total||37.48 sq mi (97.07 km2)|
|• Land||15.11 sq mi (39.13 km2)|
|• Water||22.37 sq mi (57.94 km2)|
||4,278 ft (1,304 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||1,783.88/sq mi (688.78/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-6 (MDT)|
|Area code(s)||385, 801|
|GNIS feature ID||1430037|
Magna (/ˈmæɡnə/ MAG-nə) is a metro township in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. The current population of the township stands at 27,029 according to the 2020 census, a moderate increase over 22,770 in 2000.