- An estate planning attorney can help ensure your will is written accurately and legally sound.
- Being clear and specific about your wishes is essential when creating a will.
- Add an executor to your will responsible for carrying out your wishes.
- Consider naming a guardian for minor children.
- Sign and notarize the document, then store it in a safe place.
A will is a legal document that ensures your assets, debts, and possessions are distributed to your loved ones after you pass away. Writing a will is an important step in ensuring that your wishes are followed after you’re gone and can help protect your family from any potential conflicts or disputes regarding inheritance. While writing a will can seem complicated, you can take a few easy steps to ensure your will is comprehensive and legally sound. Here are five tips for drafting a comprehensive and legally sound will.
1. Work with an Estate Planning Attorney
Working with a reliable estate planning attorney is essential to ensure your will is written accurately and legally sound. An attorney can help you navigate the complexities of creating a comprehensive will, including helping you identify what assets should be included in your will, how they should be distributed among beneficiaries, and any potential legal issues that may arise. Their expertise and knowledge can help ensure that your will is created in a way that reflects your wishes and respects the laws of the state you live in.
2. Be Clear and Specific
It is important to be clear and specific about your wishes in any legal document; wills are no exception. When creating a will, it is essential to ensure that all assets are clearly identified and the desired recipients of each asset are named specifically. It is important to include details about how the asset should be distributed, such as if you want the asset split among multiple beneficiaries or divided in a certain way.
Here are some ways to make sure your will is clear and specific:
Name Beneficiaries Clearly
When writing your will, make sure to name each beneficiary. Provide full names, addresses, and contact information for all beneficiaries named in the document. This ensures that ambiguity around who should receive what assets is eliminated before it leaves your hands. Accurate information makes it easier for executors to track beneficiaries and distribute assets as instructed.
Include Detailed Descriptions of Assets
To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, provide detailed descriptions of individual items or categories of property named in the will. This includes real estate, investments, vehicles, and more. When giving an item or asset to specific individuals, detail exactly what you are giving away so there’s no room for confusion.
Be Clear About Your Intentions
When writing your will, make sure that it is clear about how assets should be distributed if a beneficiary predeceases the testator or if they cannot be located. If you have any special requests or stipulations about how the assets should be managed if something happens to the beneficiary, ensure those are included in the will. Doing so can help ensure that your wishes are respected even if a situation arises that you didn’t anticipate.
Make It Easily Accessible
Once your will is finalized, ensure it is easily accessible to your executors. Provide them with a copy of the will and contact information for the attorney who originally drafted it should any questions arise later. It is also important to ensure all beneficiaries have access to a copy of the will or at least know where they can find one if needed. This ensures that everyone knows their responsibilities and offers another layer of security to fulfill your wishes.
3. Add an Executor
An executor is responsible for carrying out your final wishes by your will. When selecting an executor for your will, it is important to choose someone you trust and who is up to executing your wishes. This person should be organized, responsible, and have a strong working knowledge of estate law. It is important to name alternate executors if your primary choice cannot fulfill the role.
4. Name a Guardian for Minor Children
If you have minor children, it is important to name a guardian in your will who can care for them if something happens to you and their other parent. When selecting this person, it is essential to choose someone with the best interests of your children in mind and who is willing and able to provide for them. Discussing your choice with the guardian beforehand ensures they are comfortable with the responsibility.
5. Sign and Notarize
For a will to be legally binding, it must be signed by both you and two witnesses in the presence of a notary. It is important that each signature be witnessed and that the document is notarized, as this acts as proof to validate the will in court. It is important to store your will safely so your executor can easily locate it when needed.
Creating a comprehensive and legally sound will is important in fulfilling your final wishes. These tips can help ensure your will is properly written and legally binding. With the correct preparation and assistance, you can rest assured that your wishes will be respected after you leave.