Preparation of your legal Will is important to ensure that your assets are distributed in the manner you wish after your death and so you can make financial arrangements for your close relatives.
If you do not make one, the law could decide what happens to your estate and it may not be what you would have wanted. Wills can be quite complex, especially if you have complicated financial or family situations. However, in most cases a standard format of legal Will can be appropriate for the task.
We offer many different, suitable for different family circumstances and designed for use in estates where inheritance tax advice is not required and where the legacies are straightforward. Who should have a will: Anyone who cares how his/her property is distributed upon his/her death, or who would handle matters for those she or he leaves behind, or be guardian for minor children.
Can a parent disinherit a child? : Normally Yes. It is necessary to specifically say the omission is intentional. Often Wills have language along these lines: "I have previously taken care of my daughter Joan during my lifetime, and have chosen to leave nothing. Similarly, I am leaving nothing to my son Michael, for reasons known to both of us."
Examples of Famous people Wills.
Linda McCartney Will (1942-1998)
On her death in April 1998, Linda McCartney, a crusader for animal rights and vegetarianism, left her substantial fortune to her husband Paul, the former Beatle. Linda McCartney set up a trust that makes her estate virtually exempt from taxes.
John F. Kennedy, Jr. Will (1960-1999)
John F. Kennedy, Jr. planned to leave the bulk of his holdings to his wife, Caroline Bassett-Kennedy, or their children. But John and Caroline died together in a plane crash last July without leaving any issue. Therefore, his property wills go to the children of his sister, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. The bulk of his estate is left to the beneficiaries of a trust he established in 1983. Kennedy also left the scrimshaw, or carved whale ivory, set once owned by his father to nephew John O.K.. Schlossberg. Kennedy's cousin, Timothy P. Shriver was named executor of the wills. Kennedy's estate is reportedly worth $100 million.
Joe DiMaggio Will (1914-1999)
According to his will, "The Yankee Clipper" set up trusts for Joseph Jr., his grandchildren Katherine and Paula, and his great-grandchildren, Kendall and Mitchell Stein, and Valerie and Vanessa Harm. The Steins wills receive $250,000 each while the Harms wills receive $500,000 each. The remainder of DiMaggio's estate will be divided among his son and his two grandchildren.
Diana, Princess of Wales Will (1961-1997)
When Princess Diana died tragically on August 31, 1997 she left behind a 21.5 million pound (approximately $35 million) fortune, most of which was bequeathed to her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. The inheritance will be held in trust for the two princes until they reach the age of 30. In her will made public on March 2, 1998, Diana also left 50,000 pounds to her former butler, Paul Burrell, and set aside personal moment for her 17 godchildren.
Marilyn Monroe Will (1926-1962)
The legendary sex symbol, who tragically committed suicide in 1962, left most of her fortune to her friends and family.
Warren Burger Will (1907-1995)
The former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court left behind a self-written, 176-word will. He gave his entire estate to his two children. But he failed to give any power to his executors and made no provisions for estate taxes. These apparent oversights will cost the estate thousands of dollars.
Doris Duke Will (1913-1993)
The tobacco heiress had a $1.2 billion estate that was the subject of much litigation. A New York judge ordered the removal of two co-executors of Duke's $1.2 billion estate. The court found that Duke's butler Bernard Lafferty was squandering her estate to support his "profligate life style" and that United States Trust Company failed to slow down Lafferty's spending.
Jerry Garcia Will (1942-1995)
The leader of the Grateful Dead was a counterculture icon. In his will, he remembers friends and family, giving out personal mementos, including his guitars.
Harry Helmsmen Will
The New York billionaire real estate magnate Harry B. Helmsmen, whose holdings included the Empire State Building and some of New York City's most posh hotels, died Jan. 4, 1997, leaving an estate estimated at $1.7 billion. Except for a bequest to his secretary, Helmsmen left his estate to his wife, Leona Helmsmen, who is also named as executor of the will.
David Packard Will (1912-1996)
The co-founder of Hewlett-Packard left the majority of his holdings, estimated at $6.6 billion, to the charitable foundation named for him and his late wife. The transfer of assets made the David and Lucille Packard Foundation one of the wealthiest charities in the world.
"Shoeless" Joe Jackson Will (1889-1951)
The legendary baseball player was permanently banned from the game for his part in the "Black Six Scandal" of the 1919 World Series. His will was the subject of litigation in 1995 when two charities who were beneficiaries of his wife's estate sued to gain possession of the original because of its value to sports memorabilia collectors.
John Lennon Will (1940-1980)
The Beatles' singer, songwriter and guitarist, who sang "imagine no possessions" in the popular hit "Imagine," left most of his property to an estate controlled by his wife, Yoko Ono.
Richard Nixon Will (1913-1994)
The only president to resign from office gave specific instructions for the handling and disposal of personal notes and records.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Will (1929-1994)
As first lady, Onassis planned the restoration of the White House and urged Congress to declare it a national museum. The art and personal possessions she collected have fetched large sums in recent years at celebrity auctions.
Elvis Presley Will (1935-1977)
Known as "The King," Presley sold more than 45 million records and starred in 33 motion pictured. He left much of his vast fortune to members of his family.
Babe Ruth Will (1895-1948)
"The Sultan of Swat" grew up in an institution for underprivileged boys. Dominating baseball as a home run hitter, Ruth became a national celebrity. Famous for his charitable deeds, he once promised to hit a homer for a hospitalized boy. A year before he died, he established and endowed the Babe Ruth Foundation for destitute children.
What is a Will?
A will is a written or oral communication by a person stating how they want their property disposed of at death.
A will that has been witnessed and signed with all of the formalities required by provincial or state law. This is the most common will.
A will that is hand written without the presence of witnesses. Very few provinces and states recognize these types of wills, and only in limited, specific circumstances.
This type of will in an unwritten disposition of property, whereby the individual orally communicates his of her wishes. Oral wills are only recognized in a few states and usually only in compelling situations.
A living will allows you to decide whether you desire life support under certain circumstances, not in all sates or provinces.
A Trust is a legal property interest held by a person (trustee) for the benefit of another (beneficiary).
A trust that is created while you are alive. A living trust allows the trustee and beneficiary to avoid the probate process.
A trust established through a will. A testamentary trust generally must go through a probate.
A trust that can be terminated at any time by the grantor for any reason.
A trust that cannot be changes or terminated for any reason.
Note: Some states and provinces may be different.
Why Make a Will?
A Few Reasons
1. A most difficult time is easier for loved ones.
2. Name who is the guardian of your children.
3. Prevent bitter family battles.
4. Smooth out the legal process.
5. Specify who gets your assets.
6. Protect the family home or business.
7. Minimize legal costs.
8. Your last written word on earth.
You have heard people on radio and TV, seen ads in your papers and even other sites on the web for as much as $39.95 (ouch) for their last will and testament or legal will kit.
Advantages of a Trust
1. Property in a living trust does not go through a probate.
2. The trust document is never made public like a will
3. You can name alternative beneficiaries to inherit property if a primary beneficiary dies before you do.
4. Allows others to handle your assets when you are not able to.