7 Steps For Writing Your Last Will And Testament

7 Steps For Writing Your Last Will And Testament

September 2, 2020 Off By Glespynorson

Did you know that sixty percent of American adults don’t have a will? This is unfortunate considering how important a will can become when the time to use one finally comes. Many people don’t put having a last will and testament at the top of their priorities list.

This makes sense considering how morbid the topic can seem. However, having a will is something that will save your loved ones and beneficiaries a lot of stress and even frustrations. In your will, you can put exactly how you would like your body put to rest, how you want your estate to be divided up, and can take care of any other business that needs to be settled.

Writing a will is easy and is something that every adult should do and keep updated. But what are the actual steps to writing a last will and testament? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know!

1. Make The Initial Document

Start a new document with the title “Last Will and Testament.” At the top of the document, put your full legal name and address.

For the declaration paragraph, write that you are of legal age and of sound mind. Write that this document is your last will and testament and it revokes any previous will that you’ve made. Also, put that you’re not writing this document while under duress.

2. Designate An Executor

Your executor will be your personal representative. This person will distribute and manage the assets of your estate.

Many people who write wills usually choose a close family member or friend as their executor. However, you could end up avoiding possible problems down the road by appointing your financial advisor or lawyer as your executor.

You want to choose a person who is trustworthy, reliable, honest, and willing to act as your executor. If it happens that your first choice isn’t available, then you should have an alternate option.

Closing an estate can sometimes be an overwhelming task and you should think about possibly compensating the executor.

3. Appoint A Guardian

If you’re taking care of dependent children or minors, then it’s important that you name a guardian in the event that you happen to be the last surviving parent. If you don’t do this, then the court will appoint someone.

You should choose a person who’s not only going to be prepared to take on this responsibility of raising your children but also who is close to you and your children. You should discuss this decision with the potential guardian as well as your children. You should also pick an alternate guardian in case something happens to your first choice.

4. Name Your Beneficiaries

A beneficiary is a person who stands to inherit your assets after you die. Your beneficiaries can include your children, spouse, close friends, and relatives.

In your will, you should write the full names of your beneficiaries so that there won’t be any doubt about who you’re referring to. Also, you should never designate a pet as a beneficiary. Instead, you should appoint a person to take care of your pet.

5. Designate Your Assets

You should next write up a list of all of your assets and decide who is going to inherit what. If you intend to disinherit a family member, then you should name that person in your will and state your reasons why you’re doing it.

If you choose to disinherit your spouse, then you should speak with an estate planning lawyer while writing your will. In some states, the law says that the surviving spouse has the right of election. This means that they’re entitled to take a certain percentage of the estate (usually half).

Some assets that name a beneficiary, such as a life insurance policy, aren’t part of the will and need to go to the designated beneficiary.

6. Have Witnesses Sign Your Will

After you’re done writing your will, you should get two people to serve as your witnesses. The witnesses have to be at least 18 years old and they can’t be beneficiaries in your will. Date and sign the will in front of the witnesses and then ask them to sign and the will also.

In the majority of states, you don’t need to have it notarized. You may want to ask your witnesses to sign a statement known as a “self-proving” affidavit. This is so that they don’t have to testify in court that the signature on the will is yours.

7. Store Your Will

You should store your will in a safe spot, such as a safety deposit box. You should also let your executor know where your will is and how to access it.

You might want to review your will every couple of years. You should do this especially if you undergo a major life change, such as a birth, divorce, or death.

The Importance Of Knowing The Steps For Writing Your Last Will And Testament

As we can see, writing up your last will and testament isn’t that difficult. And by taking just a little bit of time, you can end up saving your loved ones a lot of stress and anxiety about your estate. Just make sure that your will is clear and easy to understand.

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