Writing a will is one of the most important things anyone can do to ensure their assets are dispersed how they want upon their death. It is not nearly as difficult to write as one might expect. The hardest part is just making the time to do so.
Anyone who dies without a will faces having their assets tied up in probate court. This will be a lengthy and miserable process for the living beneficiaries. Most importantly the court will not have knowledge or concern of the wishes of the deceased. Very few people want to think about their death. For this reason, they put off taking the necessary steps to ensure things are in place when they die.
When Do I Need To Write My Will?
The answer to this is right now. In a few easy steps anyone can have a reasonable will written that is legally binding. Even if they are not sure if they will keep it as is, writing it now will establish a written will and then it is even easier to change parts of it should the need arise.
How Do I Write My Will?
Begin the document by making clear what it is. This is done by writing the words “Last Will and Testament”. Additional information that needs to be included in the document is a statement that the person writing the will is at least 18 years old, is not under duress or being coerced, and that they are of sound mental capacity.
Online tools are available. Often these programs will auto fill in many parts of the information that is required of all wills. Either writing it out by hand or with an online tool is ok, as long as all of the necessary information is included.
An executor will need to be chosen to carry out the details and instructions of the will. It is common for couples to choose their spouse but this is not mandatory. It is also recommended that an alternate executor is named on the chance the first choice cannot carry out their duties for health or other reasons. It is common to have the estate pay the executor a fee for carrying out their duties but it is not mandatory.
The will should name the beneficiaries and spell out the details of who will receive what, and any details noted for how or when they should receive said items.
If there are children under the age of 18 then guardianship should be clearly indicated. If there is an inheritance then the control of it and exactly how it should be used should be spelled out in the will. This is something an experienced attorney should be consulted about.
The will needs to be signed and witnessed by at least 2 others. Typically the witnesses are among those named in the will.
Writing a will is one of the most important things a person can do to protect the loved ones they leave behind. Any failure to write a will while time allows is a terrible mistake. Anyone thinking about it should write one today.