We are all on a journey with an uncertain sunset date that leaves behind tears and nostalgic memories., so it’s prudent to leave your estate in safe hands to save your family undue inheritance battles and wrangles. For Washington residents, our free online Washington last will and testament form can help you express your last will correctly so that your beloved ones get the inheritance they deserve. This critical document ensures that your appointed heirs enjoy legal backing. It also spells out who should get what in your distributed properties. So, keep reading below to learn more about this crucial document.
How a Washington Last Will and Testament Differs from Other Wills
We stated clearly that the last will represents your wishes regarding your wealth after you die. Thus, all the other testaments and wills represent your wishes while you still live. For instance, other living wills can stipulate what you wish to happen to you if you suffer a physical disability.
How the Last Will Goes the Extra Mile
So, how else does a last will differ, and to what extent? Below are four ways in which it “goes the extra mile.”
One, it lets its drawers to appoint executors. These are appointed and trusted persons that the last will writer appoints to execute their wishes after their death. They have several responsibilities, including filing the last will and testament template with probate courts in specified towns or counties where the deceased lived. They also manage the deceased’s property by paying off any debts, bills, and taxes to ensure their estate is in order before distributing the assets.
Two, this will and testament lets you name a guardian or guardians if you leave behind minor heirs. They assist them as they grow until they reach a legal age to inherit your estate. Therefore, you should include the guardian’s or guardians’ names in the will to obligate them legally to do their job.
A guardian is also necessary if your chosen inheritor has special needs. However, you should also get their permission to include them in the will. Otherwise, their inclusion will be legally null and void.
Three, your Washington last will and testament lets you name your estate’s inheritors. When you fail to document the last will, you automatically allow the government to share your wealth among your relatives. The state takes your property in rare cases where you have no known or surviving relative. The problem here is that if you wished any of your ‘closer-than-a-brother’ friends to inherit your estate, the law automatically locks them out. Moreover, any noble intention to donate some of your wealth to charity is excluded from the inheritance equation.
Four, all last wills and testaments in Washington require legal help to make them legally binding and secure. The law allows you to create different trusts to cater to various needs. For instance, it allows you to create a family business succession trust to advance your business dynasty if you run family businesses. This way, you maintain your business within your family without any undue wrangles among your beloved ones. You can also create education trusts for your schooling children.
Moreover, a well-documented last will and testament is a beneficial tool for addressing challenges that could face estate planning in cases, such as blended families and remarriages.
Key Features of a Washington Last Will and Testament Form
Washington laws have requirements for validating a last will and testament. Otherwise, your testament will be legally null and void. Below are some of them as per the provisions of Washington code section 11.12.010, et seq.
- You should be a sane adult aged 18 years and above to draft or sign a last will.
- If you can’t sign a will for any reason, for instance, sickness, you should appoint a trusted adult to do it for you under your directions and in your presence.
- All last will signings should have two or three competent witnesses regardless of whether you sign it yourself or you assign someone to do it for you.
- All signing witnesses must not be beneficiaries.
- Your last will should list any number of beneficiaries you wish and state how much each beneficiary gets out of your distributed estate.
- Washington laws require you to document all last wills. However, it does recognize oral wills but under particular circumstances.
- However, the state allows you to distribute an estate that excludes joint tenancy property, community property. It must also exclude shares of your spouse’s or partner’s assets if they’re entitled to them maritally and the shares of kids born after your will’s execution.
What does this legal term in Washington’s laws mean? It means the process of distributing one’s estate if they die without a will. When they apply, the state will rule that:
- The deceased’s spouse or registered domestic partner inherits the entire estate if they don’t have kids. In this case, the property is deemed a 50-50 affair between the spouses;
- If they have no children, the surviving spouse shares the inheritance with the deceased’s parents. In this case, the parents get 25% of the estate. But if none of the above next of kin exists, the deceased’s closest relative inherits the property. Such relatives could be siblings or grandparents.
The law allows you to change your last will. You can alter it by codicil, where you amend the will to allow it to be executed the same way you intended it to be originally implemented.
Lastly, you can revoke a last will by executing a subsequent will. You can also revoke it by canceling and destroying it. The destruction can be in the form of burning or tearing.
There you go with all you need to know about the Washington last will and testament. So, we encourage you to download our free forms and write yours today because tomorrow is guesswork and a costly gamble!