Understanding the Law

Understanding Wills and Estates

For you to be able to leave a will, which is a document that indicates how your property or estate is supposed to be distributed after you die, you need to know various things:

Have You Met These Qualifications?

You should be:

You Need an Executor of Your Will (For Example, a Law Firm)

Of course, you need to leave a company or individual in charge of the distribution of your property; an executor that won't deviate from your instructions. The best and most qualified company to do this is usually a law firm that handles wills and estates. This way, you ensure that what your will states is carried out without changes or leaving anything out.

To do this, you need to file a petition with a probate court so that your will can be admitted to probate, meaning your will can be classified as valid. The will should mention the executor so that the probate court can acknowledge that you have given the executor power to distribute your property.

What Can You Include in Your Will?

You can leave assets that you own. These can include things like houses, vehicles, money, shares, jewellery, etc.

You can also include instructions like how you want your body to be treated (buried, cremated and whether you want to donate your organs).

What You Cannot Include in Your Will

You cannot include anything that is jointly owned. The reason behind this is that if you jointly own a piece of property, you must have stated a beneficiary when you bought or acquired the property.

Simply put, the properties you can distribute in your will are those that you individually own.

What If There Is a Person Who Is Not Happy with Your Will?

The person can file a petition in a probate court to try and prove that they deserve a share of your property. The probate court can then decide whether they receive a portion of the property or not.

What Happens If You Do Not Leave a Will?

If there is no will, the probate court shares the property of the deceased. Each person who thinks that they deserve a portion of the property can file a petition to a probate court and is given a chance to prove so. The probate court then decides who gets what after hearing all parties and looking at the proof presented.

For more information on wills and estates, reach out to an estate lawyer near you.