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What is a Last Will and Testament

 

A Kansas 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 Kansas 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.  Kansas free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Will in Kansas

Every Kansas citizen who feels responsible for one’s assets after his/her death can take into consideration the filling the Last Will and Testament form. If properly built, this form becomes an official document, reflecting the last will of the person after one’s death. This paper might be created by an adult (18 years old+) person, completely sane and responsible for one’s actions. In the document, the adult states one’s assets and the ways they are supposed to be distributed. The deceased person is usually named a “decedent” in the official documents and later in this article.

The decedent, when creating the Last Will document, has to clearly state the person, responsible for the further affairs of the deceased. This “responsible” person, usually called a representative, will take care of paying all the remaining debts of the decedent in accordance with the rules, using the decedent’s property. After the debts are paid, the rest of the assets are distributed between the heirs. The representative also called an “executor,” has to control the order of asset transferring and the amount of property so that the will of the deceased person was implemented correctly. If the decedent wants to state more than one executor, it is also possible — in this case, these people are referred to as “co-representatives.”

The decedent also has to choose the guardians in advance. The guardians are the people who will be raising the children of a deceased person in case of one’s premature death if the children are not capable of caring about themselves yet (usually, up to 18 years old). This is a responsible mission, so it is important to choose the candidates for guardianship responsibly and wisely. Usually, these are relatives or closest family friends.

If it turns out the deceased person did not prepare a Last Will document, the court has the right to name the representative, who will be managing the debts payments and the inheritance procedure. In many cases, these are the spouses or the closest relatives or friends.

Each state of the United States of America has its own laws concerning the Last Will and Testament creation and the verification procedures. In Kansas, there are relatively strict rules concerning this document. First of all, the Last Will document has to be signed by a testator and two witnesses instead of one, as in the majority of the states. After that, the paper has to be brought to the lawyer and verified (notarized) here. These steps are obligatory if one wants his/her Last Will paper to be legal.

Kansas Last Will and Testament laws also allow for creating oral wills — this procedure is used when the testator is incapable of creating a written document.

Thus, every Last Will document has to include the following notions:

  • A representative (or representatives) stated clearly with all required information.

  • A guardian (or guardians), also with all required information

  • The list of assets in private property

  • The will of the asset distribution and the information about the inheritors

  • The signatures — of the person, creating the document, and two witnesses (for Kansas citizens)

It is advised to keep the Last Will and Testament in a well-protected place to avoid invasions and faking the document.

 

 

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