The process of creating a will is largely one of making decisions as to what you want to happen to your property after your death. However, each state has certain guidelines regarding what makes a will legal. In Kansas, there is no minimum age to make a will, but you must possess “rights of majority” if you are younger than 18 years of age, such as if you are married or legally emancipated from your parents.
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Figure out what you own and what assets you should include in your will. Life insurance policies that name a beneficiary other than your estate do not require probate and should not be included in a will. If you own any real estate with your spouse or another person and title is held with rights of survivorship, your ownership interest will pass directly to the other person at your death, as well. A will disposes only of property held in your sole name with no built-in provisions for distribution.
Determine who you want to leave your property to. You can make specific bequests to several individuals, such as your car to your son and your jewelry to your daughter, or leave your entire estate to one person, such as your spouse. If you list individual bequests, make sure you also mention who is to get any part of your estate that is left over.
Decide who you want to manage your affairs and oversee probate of your will after you pass away. This is your executor and you should talk to the person you’ve chosen to make sure he is willing and able to do the job. You can also name an alternate or backup executor to be on the safe side, or in the event that your chosen executor predeceases you. Also decide who you want to raise your minor children, if you have any, and talk to that individual, as well, to make sure he is willing.
Purchase a statutory form for a will that is valid in Kansas either from the Internet or an office or legal supply store. You can also get a format to follow from your local law library or public library. Fill in all your identifying information, such as your name, address and the date you are making the will. Insert the names of your chosen executors, any guardian for your children, your beneficiaries and how you want your property distributed.
Gather witnesses for a will-signing ceremony. Kansas requires that you have at least two impartial witnesses who are not beneficiaries in your will. If you only have two witnesses and one is also a beneficiary, any bequest you make to her might be made void by her participation. Kansas requires that you sign your will at the end of the document and that your witnesses watch you do it. If you cannot sign your own name, you can ask someone else to do it for you, but it cannot be one of your witnesses.
Tips & Warnings
- "Self-prove" your will with a separate notarized statement signed by you and your witnesses that the will is authentic. This will avoid the necessity of your witnesses appearing in court after your death to give testimony that they watched you sign it.
- If you have someone else prepare your will at your direction and he is also a beneficiary, he may have to forfeit his inheritance under Kansas' laws.
References & Resources
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