Having a valid will that clearly states how you would like your estate handled in the event of your death can make matters less stressful for your benefactors, especially during that time of bereavement. You may have put this task off because you are unsure of how to proceed or believe it is too difficult to handle on your own. However, creating a will may be easier than you think, and there are a few steps you can take to ensure your estate is handled properly after you pass.
1. Contact a Lawyer
If you are unsure of how to begin when it comes to drafting your will, it can be wise to seek out an attorney first. He or she can answer any questions you might have regarding the drafting of the will, how to name beneficiaries and how to choose your witnesses. Having legal assistance can give you peace of mind that your will is being created properly.
2. Draft the Document
Before you write your will, consider who you plan to name as your beneficiaries and make a list of assets that you want to include in the document. These might include retirement accounts, vehicles, real estate and valuable antiques or jewelry. If you plan to bequeath any assets to minor children, you may want to name a guardian to hold them in trust until the minors come of age.
3. Name and Gather Witnesses
Your will may not be valid unless it is signed in front of witnesses. Your attorney can act as a witness, and you can choose others, such as your spouse or adult children. You may want to ask your attorney about your state’s witness requirements.
4. Sign Your Will
Once your witnesses are in place, sign your will and then ensure that your witnesses sign and date it in the proper place as well. Have your lawyer inspect the document to ensure all signatures are legible and are in the proper place.
5. Consider the Future
There may come a time when you want to update your will to provide for any future children or any change in your life, such as a divorce or death of an heir. You can let your attorney know when changes are necessary or discuss the creation of a living will, which can funnel your assets into your existing will if you were to die unexpectedly before making updates to the document.