Will lawyers in Grand Rapids are privileged to work with all kinds of families in order to plan for and protect their futures. There are many tools that can be used to this end. Probably the most famous of them all is the will. We’ve all seen the dramatic readings in movies and soap operas.
Aside from being a useful plot device on the screen, wills serve many other really crucial functions. Will lawyers in Grand Rapids are full of information about how best to use a will for a specific situation, but it can be a good idea to have a little background on your own.
Types of Wills
For example, did you know that there are actually three kinds of wills in Michigan? The self-proving will is the only kind that really meets the legal requirements of a will. It is written and signed and has been properly witnessed. A “holographic will” is one that’s been written by hand and doesn’t have any witnesses. Something like this might come about, if you’re alone and realize you’re about to die and write out a will. There’s very little chance of this kind of will being valid. The third type is the “oral will.” That is when someone orally states their wishes. Again, there’s little chance of an oral will being upheld.
In addition to being self-proving, there are a number of requirements that a will needs to meet to ensure that it will be valid. In the movies mentioned above, the will usually starts out with the phrase “being of sound mind and body.” What does “sound mind” mean, though?
In order to be of sound mind, the person creating the will must understand what a will is and be 18 years of age, although there might be considerations made for an emancipated minor. Likewise, the individual must know that he or she is making a will and must understand the relationship between oneself and those providing care. You can help clarify that you are of sound mind by stating within the document that you understand that it is, in fact, a will.
The will itself needs to do one or more of three things. It needs to list who inherits specific items, it needs to appoint guardians for minor children, and/or it needs to state what happens to property that isn’t specifically named in the will itself. It will also name the executor in charge of taking care of the estate and carrying out obligations and wishes. Additionally, it needs to be signed, dated, and attested by two or three witnesses, usually people who are not related to the person creating the will.
Smoothing the Transition
The most obvious purpose of a will is to let your executor know what to do with your things, but there are other purposes, as well. For example, it simplifies the probate process. This might not seem like that big of a deal, but when you realize the time, expense, and effort that you loved ones could end up going through, it just makes sense to ease that process. A good wills lawyer in Grand Rapids, like Attorney Shawn Eyestone, can be a big asset in making that happen.