When it comes to writing your will and testament in the USA it is best to have one written specifically to cover the state in which you live. When you have property and possessions in more than one of the states then the US will and testament needs to written with a view to covering all the requirements of the states involved so that it takes into account the correct processes, laws, rules and procedures that are required. These differences affect how to write a will in the US. Obviously the more US state rules you have to cover the more complex US wills get.
Making wills in the USA are an important part of estate planning and the protection of your family’s future. It is naturally the first thing that virtually everyone will think of, however, as you look deeper into the subject of US Wills other terms for estate planning will start appearing and this can make matters a bit confusing. Wills in USA are obviously about taking care of what happens to your property and loved ones after death; yet they don’t deal with any important life altering issues that may occur within a person’s lifetime. To cover these areas of estate and life planning other US legal forms are used. Whether your looking at how to write a US will or other matters of estate planning the areas to be aware of are:
- Living Wills
- Power of Attorney
- Will Writing Processes
- Inheritance Law
- Contesting A Will
A USA living will arranges in advance (also known as advance directives in the US) with what you want to happen with matters of medical treatment if you are physically or mentally unable to make your wishes known at a time when it matters. A US living will is legally covered under state legislations.
Power of Attorney-USA
A US power of attorney deals with taking care of a person’s health, welfare and/or financial affairs. They are used to assign powers over to a person or persons that you can trust to take care of these issues for you on your behalf should you be unable to deal with such issues yourself. This might happen for numerous reasons among which could be declining health, long spells in hospital or perhaps being abroad for an extended time. Some of the terms used across the US are welfare, lasting, durable, springing, enduring, general and ordinary power of attorney. The terminology, laws and procedure can differ across the country, state by state. US power of attorney forms can cover a vast array of conditions and possibilities, from a general assignation of powers to a specific assignation of power. For a USA power of attorney to be legally acknowledged and thus useable then the required procedures for the appropriate state needs to be used.
The US probate process takes place after a persons’ death and is the process of administering the estate. In the USA the executor of a will is the person or people nominated in a will and testament to deal with the administering process in line with the relevant US state probate law. The US probate rules for the procedures and processes that have to be followed differ in the details between the states.
US inheritance laws are not consistent across the whole of America. For example there is not a unified American inheritance law for the division of an estate, if there is no will written or if it is revoked (declared void for any reason) and the way any inheritance tax owed is calculated also differs across the state legal jurisdictions. Some states operate their inheritance tax system independently whilst others are joined to the federal inheritance tax system; making taxation quite complex especially if your estate spans many US states.
Contesting A Will-US
A revoked will is a will that has been declared void. A will could be revoked, in full or in part if it is incorrectly written, proper procedure is not followed or if someone had grounds to contest a will in the USA. When it comes to successfully challenging a US will there has to be sufficient grounds for contesting a US written will. For example, simply not being happy with the decisions made within a US will and testament is not going to be sufficient grounds for contesting. There needs to be something legally wrong with it and advice from a USA attorney based in the legal state in which you reside is the best person to identify this. Before wasting any of your time and money needlessly in contesting a will it would be sensible to check out the appropriate rules for the division of the estate under the relevant US inheritance laws; because whatever the result of the validity of the US last will and testament you may have no legal entitlement to inherit anything anyway.
In addition to the above differences across the sates within in the USA, there are also different ways to approach writing a US Will and Testament. Will Writing Software-USA versions, USA Wills Online and USA Will Kits can cover multiple US states, tailoring their use specifically to deal with the state legislation and rules that you require. A Last Will and Testament Template-USA version is going to be too general; for this reason it is safer to use a template specifically worded to suit the state required. Another approach is obviously using a will writing solicitor who specialize in the creating a last will and testament for the state in which they operate; making their services specific to your needs.