What is a Will and What can it do for you?

What is a will?

Many of us know that we probably need a “will” for when we die, but many don’t know what a will does.  For most people, when we die, our estate will be probated.  Probate is the judicial process by which all of our debts are paid off, then any property remaining is transferred to our family members.  The Iowa Code has a standard distribution for everyone that favors your spouse, then kids, then parents and siblings.  Without a will, the court will distribute your property in accordance with the standard rules.

What can a will do for you?

With a will, you are instructing the court to ignore the standard probate distribution rules and follow your instructions instead.  You can instruct the court to distribute pieces of property to specific people who don’t have to be family members.  This is particularly important with family heirlooms that you know you want to pass down to certain people in your family or for people who aren’t married that want to leave their possessions to a significant other or close friend. A will also allows you to specify who you want to be appointed as guardian of your minor children.   

 Every situation is unique and requires individualized attention from our attorneys. If you would like to speak with an attorney regarding drafting a will or about any other legal issue you are having, please call 515-868-0088 to set up an initial consultation with us.

-Kyle A. von Johnson, Esq.