Baerlin Law

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A will is a written document that allows individuals to direct the way their inheritance would be maintained and divided after their demise.

What Happens if You Die Without A Will?

If you die intestate (without a will), your state’s laws of descent and distribution will determine who receives your property by default. These laws vary from state to state, but typically, the distribution would be to your spouse and children or, if none, to other family members. A state’s plan often reflects the legislature’s guess as to how most people would dispose of their estates and build protections for particular beneficiaries, particularly minor children. That plan may or may not reflect your wishes, and some built-in protections may not be necessary in a harmonious family setting. A will allows you to alter the state’s default plan to suit your preferences. It also permits you to control many personal decisions that broad and general state default provisions cannot address.

What Does a Will Do?

A will provides for the distribution of specific property you own at the time of your death, and generally, you may dispose of such property in any manner you choose. However, your right to dispose of property as you choose may be subject to forced heirship laws of most states that prevent you from disinheriting a spouse and, in some cases, children.

Types of wills

  • Pour-over will
  • Living will
  • Mirror will
  • Attested wills
  • Mutual wills
  • Nuncupative will
  • Oral wills
  • Formal will
  • Deathbed will
  • Testamentary wills
  • Contingent beneficiaries
  • Discretionary trust
  • Reciprocal wills
  • Handwritten wills
  • Trust