A will is a very important estate planning document. If you don't have a will, your relatives may need to go through a lengthy court process, and your belongings may not go to the people you wanted them to. The same thing can happen if your will isn't legally valid. Here's what you need to know about writing a will and when you should have a wills lawyer.
Create a List of All of Your Assets
Your will or other estate planning documents should cover all of your assets. Any assets not covered will go to probate court.
You also need to consider your debts. For example, if you want to leave someone your house but you have a mortgage, the mortgage has to be paid off before they get the house. You may need to include additional funds to go to them to pay off the mortgage.
Of course, you might acquire more assets after you write your will or leave something out unintentionally. Your wills lawyer can include a clause that says how your loved ones split up any assets that aren't specifically mentioned in your will.
Name Your Beneficiaries
The next step is to name who gets what. Again, you can assign a beneficiary to specific assets or give beneficiaries a share of your total estate.
Be as clear as possible when naming your beneficiaries. Use legal names, not nicknames. If your family likes to use the same names, it's also a good idea to include each beneficiary's relationship to you and their full address, so there's no question who you're referring to.
You should also have your wills lawyer include backup beneficiaries in case your beneficiaries pass away before you and residuary beneficiaries who receive anything not specifically covered by your will.
Name Your Executor
The executor is the person who is responsible for carrying out your will. It's usually a family member, and they often get a lawyer to help them. Make sure the executor is someone who is trustworthy and will be willing and able to do the job.
Store Your Will
Your will doesn't do anyone any good if they don't know it exists or where to find it. While you should keep your own copy, most wills lawyers also store copies as a service to their clients. Make sure your family knows you have a will and how to contact your lawyer.
To get help creating a will, contact a local wills lawyer today.