Free Washington DC Last Will and Testament



What is a Last Will and Testament?

Provided that it's drafted and executed correctly by an adult of sound mind, a Washington DC Last Will and Testament is a formal instrument that determines the way your possessions will be managed after your death. The person who writes a will is known as testator. When they die, they can also be referred to as the decedent. The testator could also appoint a guardian for their children in the will to make certain there is somebody who can take care of the children until they become adults or until they attain a certain age.

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 Washington DC 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.  Washington DC free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Will in District of Columbia

Preparing a Last Will and Testament paper is a responsible step for every DC citizen. This document is used to specify the desires about the property distribution among the potential heirs after the death of the person creating the document. The Last Will document, if created properly, thus becomes a legal document, which has to be considered in the court when the inheritance process begins.

The Last Will, being an official document, includes several key terms, meaning the roles of the people during the property distribution process. A deceased person (a testator) thus is referred to as the “decedent.” In documents of such kind, you can also meet such terms as “representative/ executor” or “guardian.”

  • A representative is a person who becomes responsible for the decedent’s affairs after the death. These affairs include paying the debts using the decedent’s property and proper distribution of the remaining assets to the inheritors. A testator might state one or more representatives to perform these functions.

In case if the testator does not leave the Last Will document before the death, the court becomes responsible for choosing a person for this position. Usually, the court’s choice falls on the family members (spouses or adult children of the decedent) or close family friends.

  • A guardian is a person who becomes responsible for raising the children of a decedent after death. If the testator has minor kids, this point has to be specified in the Last Will paper. The testator names one or more guardians that will accept children in case of the testator’s death if these children are under 18 and are incapable of taking care of themselves. Usually, this is a family member or a close friend who managed to establish trusting relationships with the kids of the testator. The choice of the guardian has to be made wisely and responsibly because the matter concerns minor children.

The laws concerning the Last Will and Testament differ from state to state on the territory of the United States of America. In some cases, it is obligatory not only to have the document signed by a testator and two witnesses but also to have it registered and notarized by the lawyer. As for the District of Columbia, there is no need to go to the lawyer to notarize the Last Will paper. It is enough to sign it by yourself (as a testator or testatrix) and to give it to the witnesses so that they could put their signatures as well. An important point: if you are planning to create your Last Will document, you have to be over 18 and have a “sound mind” — these requirements concern the witnesses as well. Besides, the witnesses must not be mentioned as the heirs in the document they are signing.

Summing up, these are the key points that must be reflected in the Last Will and Testament:

  • Information concerning the representative (or representatives)

  • Information concerning the guardian (or guardians)

  • Information concerning the inheritors

  • The list of all private assets counted and with the stated desirable property distribution

  • Personal signature of the testator

  • Signatures of the witnesses

When the form is built, filled, and signed, the Last Will document has to be placed in a safe space to avoid potential frauds concerning the inheritance order.

Last Will Forms for Neighboring States