Why You Need a Last Will and Testament

Why wills are important

A last will and testament—or more simply, a will—is an important estate-planning tool that designates how you want your personal assets to be distributed and your loved ones cared for. It is a detailed plan for your surviving family members and beneficiaries, so you should understand why creating a will during your lifetime is so important and how an experienced attorney can help you draft one.

What a Will Does

If you die without a will, state law determines how your assets will be distributed—and it’s possible those decisions would not be what you wanted. When you create a will, you can:

  • Name an executor. When you die, an executor makes sure your will is carried out properly during the probate process.
  • Leave assets to beneficiaries. You may choose to leave family heirlooms, money, a business, or property to certain people, and you may specify these details in your will.
  • Name a guardian. If you have minor children, your will specifies who will care for them after you’re gone.
  • Name a trustee. You may also put assets into a trust for your minor children until they come of age, and that requires appointing a trustee in your will—someone who will distribute the assets according to the timeline you choose.

Creating a Will Is Easy

While Rhode Island does not require its citizens to have a will, even those with small estates should meet with an attorney and create a will. In Rhode Island, a valid will need only be:

  • Created by someone age 18 or older
  • Typed and printed, or handwritten
  • Made by someone of sound mind
  • Written with beneficiaries in mind
  • Signed by at least two witnesses
  • Signed by the creator of the will, also known as the testator

An Attorney Can Assist You With Your Will

Because a will ensures that your wishes are carried out after you die, it’s important to consult with an attorney who can help draft your document. The legal team at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that covers all your wishes and can be updated should your wishes change in the future. Call us to get started on your estate plan today.


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