Will Creation: Essential FAQs

Understanding the Keystone of Estate Planning

What Occurs if I Pass Away Without a Will in Place?

In the event of dying intestate—that is, without a will—the state laws will dictate the dispersal of your possessions. Ordinarily, your assets would be inherited by your spouse and children. If you are childless and unmarried, other relatives will be considered heirs. Should no relatives be eligible, the state would claim your property.

Without a will, courts also take on the role of deciding guardianship of any minors and their estate, should their other parent be deemed incapable or absent.

At Goldberg & Goldberg, we can ensure that your estate plan reflects your intentions, protecting your loved ones regardless of your state’s default laws. Contact us for a free consultation at (301) 654-5757.

How Is a Will Rendered Valid, and Is a Lawyer’s Assistance Necessary?

To be lawful, a will must undergo the following:

  • Signature by two witnesses (three in Vermont), who observe your signing but don’t need to read the will itself. Most often, these witnesses can’t be individuals who stand to benefit from the will.
  • An inclusion of the date and your signature.

Notarization is not mandatory though it may facilitate the probate process if an affidavit is created before a notary public.

Recording or filing your will isn’t a requirement, save for in a few states. Keeping the will in a secure location known to your executor is sufficient.

While you may not need a lawyer to draft a straightforward will, we at Goldberg & Goldberg recommend seeking legal counsel for queries unaddressed by self-help tools or within unique situations. Learn more about the value a lawyer adds by reaching out for your complimentary consultation at (301) 654-5757.

Is It Possible To Write My Own Will if My Estate Is Small?

Handwritten, or “holographic,” wills are accepted in roughly half the states, provided the will is entirely authored and signed by you, with some states also requiring a date. Although legally viable, witnessed wills are superior, as holographic wills face strict scrutiny during probate, potentially resulting in unintended interpretations. To mitigate such risks, our firm can guide you through creating a clear and enforceable will, tailored to your needs.

Can I Appoint a Guardian for My Children Through My Will?

Indeed, designating a “personal guardian” for your children in the event of both parents’ incapacitation or passing is achievable through your will. For consistent guardianship decisions, both parents should nominate the same individual. There are several ways to structure the management of any legacy left to minor children, such as appointing a property guardian or custodian under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA), or setting up individual or “pot trusts.” Consider utilizing our free consultation at Goldberg & Goldberg to discuss the best option for your family’s future.

Am I Obligated To Bequeath Assets to My Spouse and Children?

While disinheriting a spouse can be complex due to various state regulations that ensure a surviving spouse is not left empty-handed, states do permit the disinheritance of children with specific conditions. Unexpectedly omitted children, such as those born post-will creation, might still claim property rights. Circumventing potential disputes requires careful legal planning—let Goldberg & Goldberg’s insights support you.

Can My Will Be Contested After My Death?

Will challenges are infrequent and typically involve relatives perceiving they’ve been treated unfairly. Successful challengers must demonstrate in court issues like forgery, mental incapacity at will creation, or undue influence. Legal counsel can provide strategies to strengthen your will against potential challenges.

How Do I Select the Appropriate Will-Making Resource?

Choosing the right resource is subject to your estate’s complexity and your comfort level with software or printed guides. For personalized advice on drafting your will, consider reaching out to Goldberg & Goldberg through our complimentary consultation at (301) 654-5757, ensuring your legacy is secured to your satisfaction.

Photograph of the Thomas Jefferson Monument landscape, adorned with a blue filter.

Contact Us

Fill out the contact form or call us at (301) 654-5757 to schedule your free consultation.