The Importance of a Will

A Message From Surrogate Susan J. Hoffman

The most sensible, practical, and surest way we can protect those who depend on us is by making a will.

I have assembled this information so the public understands of the advantage of preparing a will

Wills should be reviewed on a regular basis as your situation in life changes such as children, moving to another state, grandchildren, remarriage, purchase of real property, etc. State and Federal laws also change constantly which could mean a revision in your will. Remember: an investment in a properly drawn will could save your heirs additional transfer inheritance taxes and income taxes at the time of your death.

The Will Defined

Before proceeding further, let's define the will. It is a legal declaration of a person's intention concerning what shall be done following the death, as to the disposition of the property and the administration of the estate. Three characteristics of a will set it apart from other forms of property transfer.

  1. A will is revocable during life - you can change your mind.
  2. A will is inoperative until death - it's provisions don't take effect until that time.
  3. A will only applies to the situation that exists at death - as to the extent of your property holdings and beneficiaries.

There are well-defined legal requirements regarding wills that relate to such matters as the capacity to make a will, execution, restrictions upon the disposal of property by will, and revocation. These requirements, which are beyond the scope of this discussion, are a direct concern you should present to your lawyer.

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