Last Will and Testament. A will is something that everyone should have in place if they own property or have assets totaling over $100,000. Often individuals will try and go cheap by doing a Will online or grabbing a form from a local store. The problem is that these Wills are not designed for your needs and if you do not follow the statute (law) then you will not have a valid Will which means that your estate will still have to be probated, except now it will be even more expensive due to the fact that the Court will be supervising the process. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! In order to have a properly executed Will in Washington State you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be 18
- You must be of sound mind
- You must sign your Will in front of TWO witnesses
- The Two (2) Witnesses must then sign below acknowledging that they have observed you sign
- The Two (2) Witnesses must then sign an Affidavit in front of a Notary Public
I have laid out the process below in a visual graphic.
A Will is a great device that allows you to designate who you want to control the process of taking your assets through probate (this person is called the Personal Representative, formerly known as an Executor). A Will designates where you want your possessions to go when you pass and you can use a Will to setup a testamentary trust that will control when and how much of the funds are dispersed to your beneficiaries and who will control that process (a Trustee). The Will can also be used to designate who will take care of your children (Guardian).
Below I have laid out two typical scenarios, the first being straightforward where the children are all adults and there isn’t a need for a testamentary trust, the second scenario is where there are minor children and a guardian and trustee are needed. These are very important decisions that should be made with the careful guidance of an experience estate planning attorney, please call me today at 509-293-9867 for more information!