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What is a Last Will and Testament

 

A Indiana Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their children’s inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representative—or co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)—to manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedent’s debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedent’s property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usually—in most states—means it must be properly witnessed, as well—not just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedent’s debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedent’s heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedent’s property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a Indiana Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they don’t, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  Indiana free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Will in Indiana

The Last Will and Testament is a document created by a sane person who wants to fix one’s wishes concerning one’s property and the order of inheritance in case of death. This has to be a legal document so that the will was fulfilled but to make it legal in many of the states of the USA, and a person has to “witness” it with the help of a lawyer. Lawyers use the term “decedent” to refer to the person who dies and leaves the final will.

In the Last Will and Testament, the decedent can name the person who will be responsible for the rest of the affairs after the testator’s death. Usually, this is a close person, often a family member or a close friend of the family, someone who is considered to be responsible and trustworthy. This role is called a ‘representative” (there might be more than one representative). The representative will have to check if all the debts of the decedent are dealt with and if the property left after paying the debts is distributed in accordance with the decedent's will.

It might turn out to be that the deceased person did not leave the Last Will document before their death. Thus, his or her final will is unknown. In such cases, the court chooses one of his/her relatives or close friends to become a representative, who will have to perform all the steps and functions required from a legal representative. The assets, which are not used to pay the debts, will be provided to the heirs in accordance with the law.

In case if the decedent had small children, the Last Will document might also include the information on who will be responsible for their guardianship.

In each state of the USA, there are different rules on the Last Will paper creation, including the difference in the legalization procedure. In Indiana, a person, after building his/her Last Will document, does not need to attend the lawyer to confirm its realness (notarize). Usually, it is enough to list the wishes on the paper and sign it so that the document becomes legal.

In the majority of cases, it is possible (and necessary) to include the following points in the Last Will and Testament:

  • It is needed to state who is going to be your representative (or representatives) — usually referred to as the executors

  • If you have minor children, name the guardian, who will take care of them in case of your death

  • Name those who will inherit your property in case of your death. These people are called “beneficiaries” and usually are the relatives (spouses, children, parents, or others) or close friends

  • State your property: itemize the property units — the assets which will be inherited by the beneficiaries

These are the most important, key points which every Last Will and Testament has to cover. After you created a document, it is recommended to sign it by you, by a witness (someone from the surrounding), and put the paper into a safe place.

 

 

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