Free Delaware Last Will and Testament



What is a Last Will and Testament?

So long as it is drafted and signed properly by an adult of sound mind, a Delaware Last Will and Testament is a legal document that describes the way your assets will be managed after your passing. The individual who leaves a will is known as testator. Once they pass away, they might also be referred to as the decedent. The testator might also nominate a guardian for their children in the document to make certain there's someone who can keep an eye on the children until they become adults or until they attain a specific age.

In a Delaware Last Will, the testator usually also appoints a personal representative-or co-personal agents (several persons acting jointly in this regard) to deal with the estate. A personal agent is a person who collects the information regarding the decedent’s debts and belongings, pays any unpaid debts with the assets, and makes sure that the decedent’s property is distributed as instructed in the last will, making this a job with a great deal of responsibility. The personal representative picked is often a friend or relative the decedent truly relies on to execute their final will.

If someone dies without any valid Delaware Last Will and Testament (which in the majority of states implies the document must be properly witnessed, not only signed), someone will usually be designated by the probate court to function as personal representative and pay the decedent’s financial debt, utilizing assets as required to do so. Next, the remaining assets will be spread amongst the decedent’s beneficiaries in line with the legislation of the state the testator resided in.

In a few states, if one spouse passes away leaving their partner, that surviving spouse will end up with all the decedent’s assets in the absence of a Last Will and Testament saying the contrary. In other instances, the testator could have determined a certain individual to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and this inheritor designation will ascertain who is given those assets without a Last Will.

The thing to be aware of is the fact that anybody who needs to designate the way their assets will be handled after their death should make and correctly finalize a Last Will to make sure their wishes are recognized and fulfilled. Without having a will, you could be leaving it up to chance, the legislation of the state, or a court in respect of the way your very last affairs will be settled.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in Delaware

Under Delaware law, the property of a deceased is automatically distributed among relatives. The spouse, descendants, and parents of a dead person are considered the closest heirs. They are followed by brothers, sisters, and other relatives. If you are familiar with the distribution of shares of your estate and agree with it, you do not have to make a testament. However, if you want to establish your own order of inheritance of your property, write your Last Will.

What Is a Will for in Delaware?

The paper is intended to fulfill the will of the deceased to inherit their property. If the testator wants to appoint certain persons as heirs or transfer part of the money to an organization, they specify it in their testament.

Here are the main cases when the document defines the terms for the distribution of the deceased’s property:

  • Transfer movable and immovable property by inheritance

  • Provide care for elderly parents or minor children, as well as arrange pet care

  • Donate to a charitable foundation or another trust.

By means of a will, you can appoint as heirs exactly those persons among your relatives whom you would like. In the absence of a testament, the court determines the order of inheritance according to the general Delaware law. A person can prepare a printed document or write by hand, but in the latter case, the form of the will must meet the official requirements of the state.

If a person made a will and then divorced, the rules of inheritance of estate by their spouse become invalid. Most likely, the testator will have to prepare a new document or amend the current one.

In What Cases Does a Will not Apply?

A testament allows a person to distribute the inheritance of their property on their own, but the will of the deceased does not cover all cases. Delaware laws establish rules for part of the estate to be distributed regardless of the will of the testator.

It applies to a jointly acquired estate with the right of inheritance. This property automatically passes to the living spouse of the deceased. Besides, the spouse is entitled to an elective share of the property. If you specify in the will a condition that contradicts Delaware laws, it will not be accepted by the court. State law always takes priority in these matters. In other cases, the testator has the legal right to establish their terms of inheritance.

Changing and Canceling a Will

Given that a Delaware resident can make a will starting at the age of 18, each testator has enough time to change their plans. For this purpose, there is a special amendment to the will (codicil), which the testator can do as many times as necessary.

The testator has the option to cancel the will completely. You can revoke the will or make a new one that cancels the previous document. Please note that each time you change or cancel the paper, it must be legalized at the local government office. Otherwise it will not be valid.

Last Will Forms for Neighboring States