At Thacker Sleight, we are family law lawyers, negotiators, litigators, and problem solvers. We have a reputation of being fearless, meticulous, and thorough in our approach of life’s unexpected challenges. We never stop, it’s how we work, and why we get results.
Serving Clients in St. Joseph, Kent County, Ottawa County, Montcalm County, and Beyond
A written will allows you to specify how your assets, personal belongings, and money will be distributed after your death. Our experienced attorneys will take the time to understand your desires to ensure your will is precisely drafted without complications. At Thacker Sleight, each plan we develop for our clients is unique. Wills are certainly not a “one-size-fits-all” situation, after all. Our team of attorneys will work closely with you and spend significant time on your will to make sure that all the relevant tax issues and other financial matters around your estate are taken care of.
Our legal team prioritizes careful listening, responsive communication, and dedication in our practice as we assist clients in transferring their assets to loved ones in the most efficient way possible. Let us help you build a will to protect your future and handle all your associated end-of-life matters.
Schedule an initial consultation with Thacker Sleight today to get started on your will.
What Can a Will Do?
A will (known as a "last will and testament") is a document that states your final wishes for how you want to distribute your property after your death. A will can be simple or complex, depending on your unique situation, and it will be read by a probate court, who is responsible for overseeing that the terms are properly carried out.
A will can specify instructions for what should happen to your property once you’re gone, including:
- Naming an executor to carry out the terms of your will
- Deciding how any remaining debts and taxes will be paid
- Who should get your personal property
- Naming guardians for any minor children and the property you leave them
- Specifying charitable donations
Legal Requirements for a Will
Wills must be valid in order to be legally enforceable.
The legal requirements for making a will are:
- being of sound mind and having the capacity to establish the terms of your will (i.e., you know what property you have and that you are leaving it to someone upon your death);
- signing the will in the presence of two adult witnesses; and
- having the document signed by the two adult witnesses.
It is not required to have your will notarized but doing so can make the will “self-proving,” which can speed up the probate process as the court will not need to verify that it is your will.
Why Do You Need a Will?
Everyone should have a will. If you die without one, your property may be distributed by default based on state intestacy laws, which typically goes down the line of your direct to distant relatives. A will allows you to maintain control over who gets which of your assets.
Three key reasons to create a will are:
- Establishing a trusted personal representative: With a properly drafted will, you can appoint a personal representative you can trust who will be in charge of administering your estate after you’ve passed away. You want to make sure you choose someone responsible and organized, because they will be responsible for filing court documents, handling administrative duties, and making sure your wishes are followed.
- Naming specific inheritors: Through a will, you can name the people you would like to receive your assets after you pass away. You can list specific dollar amounts or a percentage of your estate to go to each person.
- Naming guardians: You can use a will to name guardians for your minor children. You cannot do this with other tools, such as trusts.
Whether you are a young parent or older, it is a good idea to start thinking about your will. With a will, you can maintain as much control after you are gone as possible. The legal language in a will is critical for the proper distribution of your property, as the probate court will be parsing through your document, so it is best to consult an experienced will lawyer to make sure you are identifying assets and inheritors appropriately.
Schedule an appointment with one of our highly experienced attorneys at Thacker Sleight for legal assistance.