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Why have a Will? (in Kansas)

In my experience, most clients have an understanding that a will is important but have a hard time articulating why. Here are a few reasons having a will can be important.

When a person dies (with or without a will), any property that remains in the decedent’s name must be “probated”—distributed through a probate court proceeding. Without a will, a court follows default procedural rules and inheritance laws. The main purpose of a will is to clarify how the court should differ from these default rules and laws.

A will is a court document—a witnessed statement (“testament”), prepared in advance for a future court. Figuratively speaking, a will allows a deceased person to step into the courtroom and tell the judge what he or she wants instead of the default rules and laws regarding the estate. Some clients are okay with the default laws and processes. But many want to clarify their preferences in a will.

Here are a few of the main things you can specify in a will:

  • Who should receive your property?
  • Who should be appointed as executor?
  • Who should be appointed as guardians for your minor children (if applicable).

In addition, you can waive bond requirements, give approval for simplified or informal proceedings, and specify other desires related to probate court procedure.

If you have questions about or need assistance with wills and/or probate procedure, contact the attorney or schedule a meeting.


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