What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that provides direction to your family after you die.
A will, also called a last will and testament, includes:
1) who will oversee your estate after you die (also known as an executor or personal representative),
2) who will become the legal guardian(s) of your children, if under the age of under 18,
3) who will care for your pets, and
4) how your assets and belongings will be distributed.
After death, the will executor or personal representative (PR) takes your will to a county court, often referred to as “probate." Probate is the process through which the will is deemed valid, allowing your wishes to be officially carried out.
The PR communicates with all banks, insurance agencies, death care companies, beneficiaries, etc., while the probate court oversees the process. If no PR is assigned within a will, a probate judge will choose one.
It is important that the person you name as PR:
• Knows that they will have this responsibility when you die.
• Knows exactly where to find your will.
• Has your implicit trust. They will be solely responsible for making sure that your end-of-life wishes are honored.
• Can handle a considerable amount of paperwork and logistics, without becoming overwhelmed.
Consider that the person will be grieving your absence. Talk with them now and make sure they are fully onboard with the assignment.
Header photo: Melinda Gempel via Unsplash