Wills are legally binding documents that state exactly what should happen in the event of a person's death. Wills are meant to protect a person's money, physical property, and children. Many people only require basic wills, which can be created with the help of inexpensive computer programs.
In basic wills, transfer of possession of goods and matters regarding life insurance payouts are covered. Any money in savings, checking, or other bank accounts is assigned to the person or people the will writer selects. If minor children are involved, the will writer also designates a guardian for the child or children. Information regarding the transfer or sale of houses owned by the will writer are also included in wills. Other items designated in wills include furniture, cars, jewelry, pets, expensive clothing, and any other valuables.
Wills can be written as long as the author is of legal age, which is eighteen in the United States, and of sound mind. Written wills can be drawn up by a lawyer, typed on a computer, or handwritten, with the exception of the state of Washington, where handwritten wills are not legal. In all three cases, a notary public and a second party must witness the person's signature in order to make it valid. In addition, the witness should not be someone who is receiving items from the will.
Wills must include detailed information regarding the person's assets, the value of these assets, and to whom they should be transferred in case of death. Furthermore, married couples should have separate wills, as well as a joint will.
There is also another type of will called a living will. Living wills state exactly what a person wants to happen if he or she becomes incapacitated and must remain in a hospital or health care setting. Directions provided on living wills include whether or not the person wants to be placed on feeding tubes or if extraordinary resuscitation measures should be used. Living wills also state what should take place if the person should become brain dead. Living wills can be easily printed online and then notarized.