Wills Attorney Explains Essentials of Creating a Will
Wills attorneys, also known as Estate planning or probate attorneys, can work with you to create a trust or your last will and testament. He or she can also help you with other estate planning tools such as Durable Powers of attorneys, Health Care Directives, Living Wills and the appointment of a health care surrogate. With solid legal advice from an established professional, the process of drafting a will can be more thorough and less stressful.
What is a Last Will and Testament?
Your “last will and testament” is a legal document in which you identify the beneficiaries of your estate. In other words, it tells the courts and state who will receive which possessions or property after you pass away. Your estate can include real estate property, personal property, any kinds of investments you may own at the time of your death, and even objects of sentimental value (like photographs, family heirlooms, and so on). When you create a will, you are known as a “testator.”
The will should not be used to specify funeral arrangements, or to demand conditions from your beneficiaries (for example, requiring that someone be married or finish their college degree before receiving the property). However, a will can be used to stipulate a legal guardian for your children if they are minors. It is also advised that you and your spouse have your own separate wills. A joint will, will cause the person who is the surviving spouse to be without a Will.
When Should I Write My Will?
It’s never too soon to create a will, although you must be over the age of 18 years of age to make a will. While it may be unpleasant to plan for one’s passing, having a legally valid will makes the probate process much easier and less stressful for your beneficiaries once you are gone. It will also ensure that your assets will go to whom you wish instead of the distribution set forth in the statutes of the state in which you reside. If you die without a Will, you are said to be ”intestate” A wills attorney can ensure that your will covers all the necessary property and has legal clout.
How Do I Write a Will?
Some states require that the will is typed and not handwritten. Check with your wills attorney to find out more about local regulations. You must be at least 18 years old and mentally sound in order for your will to be legally valid.
Your will should:
- Identify an executor or personal representative, who is tasked with carrying out the will.
- Identify your beneficiaries and what they will be receiving.
- Include instructions for the payment of final debts and taxes.
You also need to sign your will in front of two witnesses, who also sign the document, as well as being notarized. They do not need to know what is in the will or who your beneficiaries are for the will to be valid. In fact, your witnesses cannot not be beneficiaries of the will.
Do I need a Lawyer?
Technically, anyone can write a will without the aid of a lawyer. However, if there are any issues or mistakes with the document, it may not be considered legally valid. Thus, from a practical standpoint, it makes sense to consult a wills attorney to create your will.
The wills attorney can help you with a number of will-related tasks. They can ensure that your will meets all the legal requirements for your state, can advise you on estate planning and management, and can even serve as executor and ensure that your property goes to the persons you designate in the Will as well as making sure that any estate taxes are paid after your passing. They can also help you to set up a trust either within the Will or as a separate document, depending upon your needs, during the will-writing process.
Your estate planning attorney will make certain that your Will and other estate planning documents are tailored to your needs. For more information or assistance with writing your will, contact Handin Law today!