Will & Living Testament
What is a Will?
A will is a legally recorded document that states your final wishes. It can include instructions for the distribution of your property, the care of any minor children. It can also include the details of your funeral and burial.
What Does My Representative Do?
A representative will handle and oversee this process. When you die, your personal representative files your will in court. The court then authorizes your personal representative to act with regard to your property.
Choosing a Guardian
The court will also authorize the person you nominated to be guardian to take care of your children. Here are a few things to consider whenchoosing a guardian.
- Who would really want to take care of my children? There may be relatives willing to help out in a crisis, but is there someone who really wants the job?
- Does the person your considering have the flexibility to care for your children? Even if someone wants to job of guardian, their job or other circumstances, commitments, may prevent them from being fully available for your children.
- What kind of life you want your children to have. Who shares your values and parenting strategies? This might not always be a two-parent family. It’s all about who can quickly adapt and remain flexible as your children adjust to their new family.
- Lastly, what is the financial plan for your children? Can your designated guardian afford to take on your family?
What Happens After My Will is Filed?
The process of filing your will in court, naming the guardian, and the personal representative is called probate. Your personal representative should hire an Alaska estate attorney to make sure everything is done correctly. It’s so important that your will is in order, and that it agrees with your insurance policies, bank accounts, financial accounts and all other assets. If not, your estate could be tied up in court for a very long time.
Sometimes people put off creating a will because they have difficulty with the finality of their decisions. It’s worth noting that you can make changes to your will at any time. We encourage all our clients to review their documents on an annual basis, in case there has been a change in their lives that would require an update to their estate plan.
The probate process can be lengthy and expensive. Once the paperwork is complete and has been filed with the court, your will becomes public. For this reason, you may also want to include an explanation of your decisions regarding the distribution of property and the selection of a guardian.
Having trouble deciding if a Will or Living Trust is best for you?
Attend Our Free Workshop!
The best way to begin the process is by attending one of the estate workshops presented by AK Wills & Trusts. Our planning workshops are offered regularly and create a great learning environment for families and couples wanting to create a plan.
At the workshop, experienced estate planning lawyer, Constance Aschenbrenner will cover the following:
- What happens when there is no plan
- How a will or living trust can serve you
Once you understand the basics of estate planning, you will be able to make more informed decisions about your situation.
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Like regular appointments with doctors, your estate plan needs to be visited regularly, to make sure all is in order. Annual updates about significant life events are a must. Keeping your plan current is much easier than having to do a comprehensive overhaul. Sign up for our newsletter to get information about life events and decisions that can shape your life.
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