Whether you have accrued modest assets or have a considerable nest egg, you must designate who inherits your savings, investments, property, and other assets when you die. The thought of your heirs and others grappling in court over who gets what is unsettling. If you want to make sure that doesn’t happen, you need to make your wishes official.
You need a will.
While most people see wills as simple, straightforward documents, there are several types of wills depending on your legal needs.
The Four Types of Wills
- Simple Will
- State that the document is your will and reflects your final wishes. This shows the court that you wanted this document to serve as your will — it wasn’t a draft or a mistake. You can also include a statement voiding all previous wills you’ve written.
- Name the people you want to inherit your property after you die. These heirs are called beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries can be family members, friends, and even charitable organizations you care about.
- Choose someone to carry out the wishes in your will. This person is known as your will executor and should be someone you trust.
- Name guardians to care for your minor children or pets if you have them.
- Sign the will. This is very important. Your will isn’t valid without your signature.
- Have at least two witnesses sign it as well. By signing, the witnesses promise that your will was genuinely written by you and that you were of sound mind and not under pressure from someone else when you made it.
- Testamentary Will (Trust). This document ensures the transfer of assets to heirs and includes specific instructions as to who will manage the assets for beneficiaries. It is generally used to ensure the regulated distribution of assets to underaged children or other heirs who are best served by monitoring assets.
- Transfers a person’s assets to beneficiaries after death.
- Must contain certain language indicating who is making the will and revoking all previous wills.
- Must be signed, witnessed, and approved by a notary.
- States who will manage the assets of a deceased person following instructions in the person’s will.
- Trust. A testamentary trust is a legal entity that manages the assets of a deceased person by following instructions in the person’s will. It provides for the distribution of all or part of an estate and often proceeds from a life insurance policy held on the person establishing the trust.
- Joint Will. A Joint will is one made by two people, often a married couple, which acts as a last will for both. One partner usually inherits assets if the other passes away.
Many probate judges don’t like joint wills and often separate the will for each party or even invalidate the joint will. A joint will is like an irrevocable contract—once the first spouse passes away, the second spouse cannot change the joint will even if circumstances have changed. Today couples have the option and flexibility of creating living trusts or simply creating individual wills.
Trust Us to Help
Everyone should have a will no matter their age. You’ll be doing everyone a favor – those close to you and those people and organizations that might benefit from your legacy. Don’t let probate decide where your assets end up. The Voeller Law Firm specializes in all aspects of estate planning. If you have questions and need help with your will, contact us by calling (210) 651-3851 or using our online contact form to send a message and set up a consultation.
We serve San Antonio, Schertz, and the surrounding communities of Bexar County.
19311 FM 2252
San Antonio, Texas 78266