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  • 3 min
  • 11/08/2021

How to Write a Will

by Christine Smith

Writing a will is one of the most important documents you will create. Not only does it protect you and your final wishes, but it also protects your loved ones, once you’re gone. While it may be unpleasant to think about your death, these end-of-life documents will provide you with peace of mind, knowing your wishes will be followed.

Creating your Will might seem daunting, but an experienced estate planning attorney can assist you in creating these documents and ensure that they are done correctly. They will walk you through all of the decisions you need to make and guide you through the process in a stress-free way.

Keep reading to learn more about creating a Will, what you should consider when planning for one, and why it’s important that you and your loved ones have one.

Do I Really Need a Will?

This is a very common question people ask, only second to asking if they can delay creating their will. Your Will is a legal document that details what you want to be done with your possessions after your death. Even if you don’t think you have a lot of assets, making a Will assures that your exact preferences will be followed after your death.

This also helps your loved ones know what to do after your death. It eliminates the need for them to guess and also prevents disputes from arising among your family or friends.

In your Will, you will name an executor who will be in charge of distributing your estate according to the instructions detailed in your Will. You also have the opportunity to name a guardian if you have minor children or other dependents. Without either of these provisions in a Will, you forfeit your say in these matters. Instead, a judge will decide who will handle your estate and who will care for your children or dependents. You can even address how you want your pets cared for.

Your Will won’t take effect until your death, then it becomes part of public record as it goes through probate.

Preparing to Create Your Will

While your attorney will walk you through the steps, let you know what information you need, and what you need to make decisions on, here are some ways you can prepare:

Gather Your Information

As you prepare to write up your Will, you will need to consider the following items:

  • Who you want your Executor to be. This will be the person in charge of distributing your estate and should be someone you trust.
  • What your assets are, this should include real estate and personal property such as vehicles, bank accounts, jewelry, and family heirlooms.
  • What debts or taxes your estate may need to payout.
  • Who your beneficiaries will be. You will need their full names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers
  • Who you want to name as guardian for your children and their property if both parents were to die.

Next Steps

At this point, you would bring your answers to your attorney who will begin to draft your Will. Some people may opt to save money and write the Will themselves or use an online template. If you choose to go this route, it’s important that you ensure your Will is legal.

Each state has specific requirements that make a Will valid, and if yours does not adhere to them, it will not be valid.

Let Your Family Know Where Your Will is Kept

Once your Will is completed and executed, you should make a copy and store both the original and copy in a safe place. It’s also good practice to let your family know where to find these documents after your death which will make probating the Will easier.

Keep Your Will Up to Date

It’s important to remember that your Will can be changed and updated at any time. It’s good practice to revisit it at least yearly to make sure it still reflects your wishes. If there is a change in your family situation such as the birth of a child or a divorce, this is also a good time to review your will.

**Disclaimer: The content used in the article is not to be used as legal advice and is for illustration and general informational purposes only. If you have questions about your particular situation, please contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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