A Will is a document which controls who receives your belongings after you have died. Depending on a person’s circumstances; a Will can be a rather simple document or it may become more complex.
While there is no such thing as a “Joint” Will executed by a married couple, the separate Wills of each spouse can be drafted so that each spouse’s Will complements the Will of the other spouse.
In addition to directing who receives what, Wills often contain a provision which deals with future rather than immediate payments known as a “Trust”. Trusts have many purposes.
The typical “Testamentary Trust” provides for the payment of money or distribution of assets to beneficiaries over a period of time rather than immediately.
Special Needs Trusts direct payments to disabled beneficiaries is such a manner that the beneficiary’s entitlement to benefits such as Social Security and Medicare are not jeopardized.
Trusts may also be used to ensure that minor children receive their designated bequests or to provide for the physical and/or financial well-being of children in the event of their parents’ demise.
Parents with minor children, often incorporate into their Wills the designation of a “Guardian” for their minor children in the event of said parents’ premature demise.
It is important to note that:
- assets held by a husband and wife as “tenants by the entirety” or otherwise subject to a “right of survivorship” may typically not be otherwise provided for in a Will;
- a spouse may typically not be disinherited;
- persons other than a spouse, including children, may be disinherited;
- remarriage situations often present typically disastrous consequences if not addressed prior to either spouse’s death; and
- the execution of a Will has technical requirements which must be followed.
Wills are extremely circumstance specific. Attorney Nagurney advises and counsels his clients concerning the drafting and execution of their Wills.