As you move from thinking you “should” make a will to getting on with doing so, you might encounter some confusing legal terminology. Don’t let that stop you. Here are a few basic terms to guide you on your way.
Last Will and Testament?
Most often, what we are referring to as a “will” is officially a “last will and testament.” Putting this in place will be very helpful to you—and your family and friends. Legal experts at Nay & Friedenberg explain:
A last will and testament is a document that allows you to name beneficiaries of your estate (i.e., the persons who will receive your property and assets), as well as name guardians for minor children. In addition to describing who will benefit from your estate and who will take care of minor children, a last will and testament names the person or persons in charge of administering your estate. In Oregon, the person administering your estate is known as a personal representative. It is important to keep in mind that a Last Will and Testament only takes effect after you have died. This means a last will and testament may be amended any time prior to your death.
Personal Representative and Fiduciary Bonds Explained
When you create your last will and testament, you designate someone, typically a family member or friend, to administer your affairs after you die. In some areas of the country, this person is referred to as a personal representative, although executor is also commonly used. In any case, your representative has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of your estate and its beneficiaries.
Although often waived by families during the process of creating the will, fiduciary bonds, such as personal representative bonds, can help inspire the confidence of everyone involved. Sometimes they are even required during the probate process. Essentially, personal representative bonds guarantee the beneficiaries that the estate will be administered in accordance with state law. It is quick and easy to obtain personal representative—and other fiduciary bonds, such as executor bonds from leading national provider: Colonial Surety Company. Just get a quote online, fill out the information, and enter a payment method. Print or e-file the bond instantly—from anywhere. It is so simple you can do it now: Personal Representative Bond Here.
You may hear the term pour-over will, but you only need to consider this if you are setting up a revocable living trust. Trusts are sometimes chosen if a family determines it would be best to avoid the traditional probate process, in the interest of expediency, taxes or other considerations. As legal experts explain:
A pour-over will works in conjunction with a revocable living trust. When a person creates a revocable living trust the goal is to have the trust administer the person’s estate upon his or her death rather than needing to perform a probate administration. However, occasionally a person who has made a trust, whether by accident or on purpose, has not re-titled or purchased an asset in the trust’s name. A pour-over will directs that any such property in a person’s own name that needs to go through probate should be governed by the terms of the trust rather than the intestacy laws that would have otherwise applied. In short, a pour-over will acts as a safety net for a revocable trust to ensure that all assets upon a person’s death pass in accordance with the terms of the revocable trust whether they have been funded into the revocable trust or, for whatever reason, kept out of the revocable trust.
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