What is a Last Will and Testament


A South Dakota 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 childrenís 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 representativeóor co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)óto manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedentís debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedentís 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 usuallyóin most statesómeans it must be properly witnessed, as wellónot just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedentís debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedentís 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 decedentís 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 South Dakota 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 donít, 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.  South Dakota free information on last will and testament forms.

South Dakota Last Will and Testament

Here you will find all the fundamental information and specific characteristics you need to know about the Last Will and Testament in South Dakota. Basically, a Last Will and Testament are the essential documents required when a testator wants their property to be inherited by someone special, described in that paper. It relates to real estate, any assets or funds, and even pets. In order for everything to be as the deceased person wished, these documents are drawn up.

Please, do not confuse it with the Living Will. The Living Will form is made for people to choose the way of their medical treatment for the future case of their inability to make decisions.

Though the Last Will and Testament are not necessary for all South Dakota residents, it can be very useful to have one. If the testator wants to pass their estate titles to someone particular after their death, they want to make it legally, meeting the local laws of intestacy. Hence, itís when the Last Will and Testament are fulfilled.

Moreover, assets and funds are not only real estate properties. The decedent also can create a charitable present or trust, select a custodian for their children below 18 years of age, or even make a ďPet TrustĒ for any of the testatorís animals to have a new keeper of their preference.

It is possible for testators to have an official representative, called executor, in the court, who will handle the Last Willís following process to be implemented in terms of the testatorís special requirements. Keep in mind that such documents are fully juridical so that before the Last Will or Testament is completed, it must be verified by the local probate court first. As soon as the Will is proven, the executor is ready to finish all of the relevant proceedings.

Properties that shouldnít be included in the Last Will or Testament:

  • Property that is in a living trust

  • Property with the right of inheritance, in joint or full lease

  • Pay-on-death bank records and transfer-on-death (TOD) resources

  • Life insurance or annuity income

  • Income from IRAs, 401(k)s, retirement plans, and pensions

What if thereís no Last Will or Testament?

Intestates, or in other words those who have died without a Last Will, posthumously face specific state laws (laws of intestacy). If a deceased person hasnít made a Last Will or Testament, their relatives are allowed to get the propertyís assets.

If there is a living spouse, he or she will get an estate. But, if there are descendants not from the defunct spouse, then the widower or widow gets the opening $100,000 of the intestate funds and half the balance.

Relatives other than a spouse (if there is no living spouse, of course) can inherit the assets as well, in order of their level of relational proximity.

Last Will and Testament in South Dakota

In order to make a legal Last Will, a testator needs to meet the requirements:

  • Age of 18 or older, fully sane, and clear-headed

  • The paper must be signed by the testator or by the trusted individual, in the testatorís presence, following their guidance

  • There should be at least two witnesses to sign the Will and confirm the rules are supported

  • The whole Last Will needs to be written by hand

  • A testator can pass the rights to anyone they want

The South Dakota government accepts Last Wills if the physical part of the document and the signature is written in the handwriting of the testator.

Last Will and Testament cancellation

Last Will in South Dakota may be adjusted at any time by the official postscript and can be revoked by its absolute or partial physical destruction, another Last Will, or the legal act of revocation.

If youíre interested in creating the Last Will and Testament, then please, use our official websiteís form template.



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