Garton & Harris

You need a will no matter what size the estate

You may not think that you need a will. After all, your estate is pretty small and you know that you have told everyone who gets what. Believe it or not, a will is needed for any estate. Have you seen in the news or experienced it first-hand when someone's loved one dies and the heirs argue over who get the car and who gets the silver? It is sad, but it is true.

Putting your will in writing with the help of a good lawyer is a step in the right direction. You may want to ensure that your children know where the will is and that they have access to this place in case of your death. Putting it in a lock box may seem safe, but if no one knows where that lock box is, the will won't do much good. Your attorney can keep a copy of it for you, and ensure that your wishes are carried out as you want them to be.

You need to be sure to sign your will and that you have at least two witnesses to this signing so that, if your will is ever questioned in court, it will stand up to scrutiny. Another route you may take is to have an attestation to the will that your witnesses sign. This is an extra precaution.

If you are a member of the armed forces and you are on active duty, you may make a will yourself, without the help of anyone, as long as you have a witness sign it. When you get home, though, you will need to update this will and get it properly vetted and witnessed.

Source: Succession Law Reform Act, "Testate Succession," accessed Jan. 12, 2016

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