I received a letter from our conference attorney regarding a testator of a will who passed recently.1 This individual and spouse had our conference attorney draw up a will last year. Sadly, this person died a short time later. It turned out that the decision to create a will was timely. If this person had died without a will, it is possible that a good portion of the estate would have likely gone to unintended family members and not all to the spouse and eventually to their other intended beneficiaries. Without a valid will, the individual’s estate may have been contested and probate court would have decided who would have received the proceeds under the state’s intestacy law.2
This experience highlights the importance of having a will drawn up by an experienced attorney who will make sure that your wishes will be carried out. In this case, it made an already difficult time for the spouse a little easier. My hope is this information will be helpful when considering the importance of a will.3
Bill Ochs, Planned Giving and Trust Services Director
1 The contents of this story have been shared in a manner intended to protect the privacy of the testator and spouse. Written with permission.
2 Intestacy is the state of dying without a will. A will can generally prevent a person (other than a surviving spouse or minor child) who would normally inherit property under the state intestacy laws from inheriting it.
3Keep in mind, the writer of this article is not an attorney. It is recommended that an attorney should always be consulted when creating estate documents.