There are two certainties in life: death and taxes.
Most of us are pretty prepared for each tax season, but did you know that 60% of Americans don’t have a will?
Many people don’t have wills because the prospect of facing their death isn’t something they’d like to think about. But it is important that you have a clear plan for what happens to your assets after you die, especially if you have a lot of them.
If you have dependents, it is even more important for you to write a will.
In this blog post, we’ll go over how to make a will so that it stands up in your state or country.
Read on for more information.
Why Do You Need a Will?
Think about the last time someone you knew passed away. Or perhaps even the last time a family member passed away.
We can bet at some point in recent memory, you’ve heard about family drama and squabbles over who gets what, in addition to who has control over doling it out.
If you don’t have children or have children that get along relatively well, you might think this won’t be a problem when you die. However, many families have found that dying without a will has lead to family problems they never expected.
Because of this, it is important that you have a will to clearly spell out who gets what at the end of your life.
If you have children under the age of 18, it is important to have a will in the case of you and your partner’s untimely deaths. This is very important if the child has a parent that is not involved in their life or a parent that is unfit to parent.
Your will needs to be clear about what would happen to the child or children should you pass before they are of legal age.
What Will Happen If I Die Without a Will?
If you die without a will, an administrator, who is most likely someone who doesn’t know your family, will be appointed to handle it. This person is appointed directly by a judge.
The administrator will walk your family through the probate process and decide who will inherit what. If there are young children involved and their custody is unclear, there may be other agencies involved.
The administrator will then divide the property and assets and they see fit. This may not necessarily be as you see fit, so it is important that you do have a will.
How to Make a Will: First Steps
Before you sit down to write a will, check out the probate laws in your state. Most states operate fairly similarly, but you’ll want to be sure you’re following the rules so that the will can’t be rendered null and void. If you have a greedy relative or think one could come out of the woodwork, it is important that you’ve dotted all of your i’s and crossed all of your t’s.
You don’t need a lawyer to help you with your will in most circumstances. The only time you will need to have someone help you divide assets is if you have a lot of them. In that case, it may be worth it to hire someone to come up with a solution to dividing things.
You should clearly label your will as your “Last Will and Testament” and should also state that you are not writing your will under duress. You need to be of sound mind, meaning that you cannot have someone coax you to change your will if your mental state has altered.
Naming an Executor
You’ll need to name an executor to your will. This person is responsible for doling out the items inherited, as well as ensuring that your wishes are respected.
Many people name a spouse, though they may also name an adult child or a good friend. Sometimes, naming a friend is a way to reduce any anticipated family issues.
In most states, the spouse will inherit most things unless there is some reason why you do not wish for your spouse to be the beneficiary. In this case, you’ll need to speak to a lawyer.
You can also name other people in the will if there are certain things you’d like them to have. For example, if you have saved up $10,000 for each of your grandchildren, you can pass this on to them, but you must name them and how they relate to you. Their identities must be fully clear in your will.
You may want to write a will dividing your assets amongst your children in the case you and your spouse die together.
You will also need to ensure you have custody arrangements for any minor children in your care, or for adults that may require care for the rest of their lives.
You will need at least two witnesses who are not beneficiaries to see you sign your will. Some states may ask that you have three witnesses, so be sure you have the correct number of signatures.
Ensuring Your Will Helps You Get What You Want for Your Loved Ones
Establishing a will is the only way to ensure that everyone in your life gets what you would like them to have. The process of how to make a will is fairly straightforward, but it is important it follows all guidelines of your state so as not to render it inaccurate.
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