Wills are legal documents that explain how a deceased wishes his assets to be distributed upon death. Wills are not always registered. However, doing so can prevent significant troubles for the decedents.
Typically, wills are not filed until a person has died. However, some states allow the registration of wills for a person who is living. For example, the state of Maryland provides a will registry service for its citizens, but is an optional service, not a requirement.
Non-government will registries
Because only a few states provide the option of registering the will of a living person, some private organisations provide the service. These organisations allow individuals to note the place where their will can be located rather than actually keeping a copy of the will on file. However, the problems of a lost will are still present if the family is not aware that the will is registered somewhere.
Registration can be important. If family members do not know the location of the will, they will not be able to file it for probate proceedings. In that event, assets will be distributed by the particular state's statute defining intestate succession. Intestate succession is a priority of distribution among family members.
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