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A last will and testament lawyer creates a statutory document that expresses an individual's final wishes about their properties and assets. In addition, it provides detailed instructions regarding what to do with their remaining assets and other valuable possessions. It will signify whether the passed person leaves them to another individual or a group or desires to offer them to charity.

Besides, a last will and testament can also address issues involving dependents, financial interests, and accounts management. A lawyer for last will and testament works side-by-side with their clients to prepare a comprehensive last will and testament document.

What Does a Lawyer for a Last Will and Testament Do?

A lawyer for the last will and testament, also known as a probate lawyer, works closely with the enforcers and the heirs of an estate to settle the decedent's matters. Nevertheless, their involvement will rely on the worth of the decedent's properties and whether or not they owned a last will and testament at the time they departed.

In circumstances where no will or testament exists, heirs file lawsuits and sue for what they think they are privileged after the person's demise. On the other hand, in situations where a valid will exists, issues may arise regarding the will's actuality and accuracy, leading to a possible trial. Besides these, a lawyer for last will and testament generally performs many tasks that are as follows:

  • Gathering payoffs from life insurance policies.
  • Getting reviews for the decedent's actual property.
  • Determining and safeguarding estate assets.
  • Drafting and filing all records required by a probate tribunal.
  • Assisting in settlement of bills and other financial obligations.
  • Deciding if any inheritance or estate taxes are owed and making sure those obligations are fulfilled.
  • Fixing income tax matters.
  • Repositioning assets with the decedent's title to the suitable beneficiaries.
  • Handling the estate checking account.
  • Making a conclusive distribution of assets to heirs after all taxes and bills have been paid.

What is a Last Will and Testament, and How Does it Work?

A last will and testament is a lawful document representing the last desires of a moribund person. The will lets you leave your assets and other valuable belongings to beneficiaries and name custodians for minor heirs. In addition, probate tribunals will use your last will and testament when dealing with your inheritance. However, when a person dies intestate, i.e., without any will, the beneficiaries will have no power over the outcome of the person's inheritance's closing.

For instance, a financially impetuous juvenile could unexpectedly acquire a considerable sum of money that the person would have never transferred to them if they were still alive. Furthermore, the last will and testament control the disposition of your property, such as real estate, bank balances, or prized possessions. It will describe who is to acquire the property and in what share. Besides, the last will can also appoint guardian arrangements for living dependents. If you own a company or have investments, your last will and testament can specify who will acquire those investments and when.

The last will also let you donate assets to a charity (or multiple charities or trusts) of your choice. A probate tribunal generally oversees the will executor to guarantee that the wishes mentioned in the will are carried out without fail. A will and last testament can make the basis of an estate plan and is the fundamental instrument employed to guarantee that the inheritance matters are settled in the manner expected by the deceased.

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Types of Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament are essential estate planning records. Not only does it let the person control where their possessions will move upon their demise. It will ensure that the deceased person's matters will get handled in the way they desire. Furthermore, different types of last wills and testaments serve various purposes, and the one you require depends on your circumstances. Here are some primary types of last wills and testaments.

  • Testamentary Trust Will

    A testamentary trust will put some properties into a trust for the advantage of the heirs and name a trustee to manage the trust. It is helpful if you have minor inheritors or heirs who you want to avoid inheriting your properties to manage independently. With this type of will, you can place your properties and valuable investments in trust and place constraints on the estate, which may be incremental based on age or other aspects.

  • Living Will

    A living will have nothing to do with distributing your property and valuable assets after your demise. Rather, it allows you to decide what medical treatments or facilities you would like to have if you contract a disease. Also, you can name any person to make choices on your behalf in a living will. Moreover, in some states in the U.S., an advanced healthcare directive incorporates a healthcare power of attorney and a living will, so you must know your state's regulations on this subject.

  • Simple Will

    With a simple last will and testament, you can determine who will acquire your assets and properties and name a caretaker for any minor children.

  • Joint Will

    Two or more individuals sign a joint will as an individual will for each heir. Typically, a joint will is made by husband and wife in favor of the other partner to inherit everything. In addition, the phrases of joint wills, including beneficiaries, executors, and other requirements, cannot be modified even after the demise of one of the testators. Given this inflexibility, joint wills can become difficult for the surviving partner, as their wishes might change.

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Key Terms

  • Beneficiary: A person named to inherit funds or other belongings in a statutory document. Trusts, wills, and insurance policies typically name heirs for "payable-on-death" accounts.
  • Executor: The individual designated in a will and nominated by the probate tribunal after the will-maker's demise to wind up the matters of a deceased individual. In some states in the U.S., executors are named "personal representatives."
  • Inheritance tax: A state tax levied on individuals who inherit property. Only a few states in the U.S. levy estate tax, and most exempt immediate family members from the tax.
  • Residue or residuary estate: All real estate property subject to a will or testament that isn't offered away expressly in the will. Usually, a will leaves specific valuable articles to named heirs and then "the rest and remains of the estate" to another inheritor.
  • Successor trustee: A person who takes charge of a trust if the actual trustee can no longer work.

In a Nutshell

The last will and testament is a basic statutory document in a person's inheritance plan. It spreads out an individual's final wishes about their assets and belongings. It delivers detailed instructions about how to allocate their possessions. There are specific things a will cannot perform for an individual, such as helping a household avoid probate or lowering estate taxes. Our expert attorneys at ContractsCounsel can help you draft your last will and testament document so you can always rest assured. Making the right decisions now will ensure you've done things precisely.


ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


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