Understanding Wills and Probate

In order to ensure that your family and relatives receive their entitled assets after you die, it’s important to draft an iron clad will. A will is a written legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of any minor children. In a will, you designate who inherits your estate when you pass away. It’s best to consult a leading Brooklyn law firm, such as Michael P. Kanzer & Associates, P.C.

Why You Need a Will

A will allows your beneficiaries to claim the unutilized assets without the state gaining control. Without a will, the state decides the future of your property, money, and who gets to manage your estate. Drafting a will before you die can save your living relatives much financial grief and delay. If there is no will to delegate which family members receive what, the assets may be divided unevenly, neglecting those who may need the funds the most. This could be extremely burdensome to surviving family members

Typically, estate litigation occurs when a creditor claims the deceased person owed them money. When someone files a claim and the executor does not agree, the estate litigation process begins. If the claim is valid, the executor must pay the creditor out of the estate assets. However, many times the executor denies the claim, forcing the creditor to petition the court for compensation.

Requirements for Executing a Will

For a will to be considered valid, there are five main requirements:

  • The will must have been written with testamentary intent. This means that the testator intended to write the will at the time it was executed.
  • The testator, or executor, must have testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity means that the executor understood the nature of making a will, the recipients of the assets, the extent of the property, and the delegation of the assets transcribed in the will.
  • The will must not contain any fraudulent material, mistakes, and it must be executed without duress, or undue influence.
  • Wills must be executed with a proper ceremony.
  • The will must also contain signatures of the testator and at least two witnesses.

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