How to Make Your Own Will

While it may appear to be a complicated process to make your own will, preparing this vital document may not take as much time and energy as you would think. Your last will and testament is the only way you can ensure your loved ones are taken care of by your estate. Although having an attorney prepare the document isn’t necessary, you should consult legal assistance for questions.

Identify Yourself and Current Mental State

Begin the process by stating your exact name, address, birth date and social security number. Include that you are of sound mental health and contractual capacity to validate your wishes. In order to activate the current will as your primary and final wish, state that you are revoking all other wills that may have been executed in the past.

Appoint and Empower and Executor

The executor is the person who will carry out your wishes and instructions after your death. Typically, the executor must be over the age of 18, but check with the laws in your state for specifics. Empower the executor to pay off any debts, handle funeral expense and estate administration expenses, including selling real estate. Also, be clear about whether or how much the executor will be paid for their services.

Also, include a “back-up” executor in the event your primary person cannot perform the duties. You should also determine whether your executor must post bond. Some people prefer to have bond attached to their estate because it acts as an insurance to prevent the executor from stealing money. However, bonds are expensive and can have a significant impact on the estate’s assets.

How Assets Will Be Disbursed and Divided

You must be detailed when you state your disbursement. This includes when and how much money or possessions each person will receive. For example, if your nephew is only five years old when you pass away, you may consider leaving him money to be accessed after he graduates from college. Also, include provisions so if the beneficiary dies, the money will then go to another appointed person. Don’t forget to add a clause in case you forgot to account for certain possessions or assets.

Follow Your State’s Laws for Signature

To maintain validity, your will must be signed in accordance with your state’s laws. You may need to have someone witness your signature or it may need to be notarized. You will need to check with an attorney for specifics.

Consider Consulting an Attorney

Although you can develop the will, you may want to consult with an attorney to ensure you have adhered to your state’s laws. If you plan to have the will executed over time, an attorney may help with future disbursements. Another reason to consider an attorney is if your estate will be hung up in probate. Probate is not only a lengthy process, but also costly.

When creating your will, think carefully about where you want your estate to go after your death. This can be one of the most important documents of your life.

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