Many people put off writing their own will because they don’t want to worry about their own mortality. But the fact is that no matter how old we feel or how old we are, we should write a will, simply in case something goes wrong. As a result, writing a last will is one of the most significant things you can do for your family.
A will presents a legal document that states how your belongings will be handled after your death. They usually contain the inheritors of the estate, sometimes guardians need to be put in place for the underage children, and there needs to be an executor to manage the will. Laws regarding this document vary from country to country, and here are some requirements that are common in the USA.
For example, in the USA, the one who is writing a will needs to be at least 18 and sane. The will can be handwritten, but many states only allow printed or typewritten wills. The testator needs to write the date in front of four witnesses who are at least 18, some States allow 2 or 3 witnesses. You need to notarize it.
1. Creation of the Document
Start by naming your will as “Last Will”, here you will include your full legal name address. In the declaration paragraph, state that you are of legal age to write a will and that you are of sound mind. You can find a sample last will and testament and just fill in the gaps. Also, write that it is your last will and that it revokes all the previous wills that were made (if you had previously written wills), and that you are making this completely free, that it is your choice.
2. Executor, Guardian, Beneficiaries
The executor is your personal representative who manages what is written in the testament and thus distributes your assets. Usually, people name someone from the family or a close relative, but it would be probably better to name your attorney or financial advisor so that there aren’t any problems in the process of distribution. The person you choose must be honest, reliable, and willing to act in your name no matter what you have written down. You should also name a second choice so that you have someone in any case.
Guardians are very important to have in this document, they will take the assets and take care of the children that are left behind. If you don’t appoint one, the court will, and they could appoint someone who is not fit for the task, thus it is best for you to decide beforehand. You need to discuss this both with the children and the potential guardian so that they know their roles if the time comes.
Beneficiaries are those who inherit your assets after you die. Make sure you include the full names so that there is no doubt who it is. You should not designate your pet to be a beneficiary, instead, name a person who will for some reward to take care of it.
3. Designate the Assets, and Witnesses’ Signature
Make a list of all of your assets and then decide who will inherit what. If you would like to disinherit someone from your family, name the person fully and write a reason behind your decision. If you want to disinherit your spouse, first consult your lawyer. In many states in the USA, the spouse has the right of election, which means they have the right to take half of the spouse’s belongings. Assets like a life insurance policy are not part of the will, and they will go to the beneficiaries stated in it.
After finishing your will, ask two or more persons to sign it (the number depending on the legislature). They must be over 18 years old, and they cannot be beneficiaries in the will. Sign and date it in front of them, and then they will do the same. In many states, you don’t have to notarize it. You can ask them to write an affidavit so that they do not need to go to court personally.
Keep your will in a safe spot and let your executor know where it is. You should review it every 2-3 years, especially after something big happens (divorce, death, or birth).
Everybody should consider writing a will. Although it is very sad to think about death when your life has only just started, it is better to do it for your family’s and friends’ sake. Choosing your heirs can be very hard, but it needs to be done so that those who you deem not worthy of your assets don’t get more than what they deserve.