In order to carry out the wishes of the decedent, yes. This is a common misconception of my clients. Many people are under the impression that if a person has a will made, none of his or her property is ever subjected to probate court and the person listed as the personal representative can just go ahead and distribute the property. This is not true.
There are a few key functions of a will. The main reason I advocate a will because it acts as a safety net for them. All transfer on death, payable on death, trust and beneficiary designations act separate from, and take priority over a will. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have a will for as backup plan.
To be effective as a backup plan, a will must be submitted to probate within 1 year from the date of the person’s death. The purpose behind submitting the will to probate is that the court can have documentation as to what the testator wanted and, should there be a need, enforce those wishes.
Why you should get a will…
1) If your beneficiary designations fail or your financial institution loses the paperwork, a will lets everyone know who you want to receive your assets.
2) A will allows your loved ones to streamline the probate process. By allowing for independent administration and waiving the requirement for a bond, a will can save your loved ones time and money.
3) Even if all of your property passes to the intended people without the need for probate, a will still provides peace of mind. You’ll know that even if the financial institutions holding your accounts make a mistake, you’ve done your best to prepare for the worst.
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