Planning for what happens to your estate after you’ve passed on can be a strange experience, but it’s essential if you have loved ones or valuable assets. Without a legal will indicating how you want your assets to be managed, your money and possessions will be distributed by the courts, potentially causing family stress and disputes. You’ll also want to ensure your children are taken care of in the event of your death, explains a wills lawyer from a law firm like Kaplan Law Practice, LLC. Luckily, making a will is pretty straightforward, and there are only a few steps you need to take to ensure your will is valid.
Write it Down
Wills are only valid in writing. You can choose whether you want to hand-write or type your will on a computer, but consistency is key. Using a mixture of the two can invalidate a will because the resulting document will look tampered with.
Gather Witnesses and Signatures
You should be the one to sign and date your will after you write it. If you physically cannot sign the document, you are allowed to appoint someone else to sign on your behalf. Additionally, when you sign, two adult witnesses must be present. Note that many states do not permit witnesses or their married partners to be inheritors of your will, so keep this in mind when choosing your witnesses. This rule is in place to protect the other legal requirements of a will: that you are of sound mind and that you are voluntarily signing this document. After you have signed your will, the witnesses will also sign.
Seek Legal Counsel
There are a few situations where hiring a will lawyer would be in your best interest. If you have a large estate, share assets with other people, or wish to update your will due to sudden life changes such as divorce, a will lawyer can assist with disambiguating any complexities. Lawyers can also serve as executors of your will. Many people sometimes choose close friends or family members to carry out the wishes of their will, but hiring a lawyer ensures that your executor is impartial and will carry out your wishes exactly as you requested.
Because specific legal requirements can change from state to state, your local wills lawyer will have all the up-to-date information you need to make a legally compliant will. Seek out a lawyer near you to start or make updates to your will and ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone.