Death is inevitable, and while you never want to imagine leaving your loved ones behind, it’s always good to have peace of mind by knowing that your assets are safe. Creating a will is a vital measure to safeguard your wealth and guarantee the distribution of your assets aligns with your desires. However, it is not always easy to draft a will, and hiring a lawyer can be critical in ensuring the will is done correctly. This piece will explore how to draft a will and, importantly, why you may need a lawyer.
Understand Your Assets and Debts
The initial step in drafting a will is understanding what you own and your liabilities. This includes your assets such as real estate, investments, and savings accounts, as well as your debts, which may include credit card debt or outstanding tax bills. Take an inventory of your assets and list them down, together with their approximate value. This information will help you to determine how your assets will be distributed.
Choose Your Executor and Beneficiaries
Your executor is the one who will carry out the directives in your will. Choose someone responsible, trustworthy, and who will be able to act impartially when handling your assets. Your beneficiaries are the people who will receive your assets after you pass away. Be sure to list them correctly and include alternative beneficiaries should your first choices pass away before you do.
Draft the Will with the Help of a Lawyer
Once you have a clear understanding of your assets and debts and have chosen your executor and beneficiaries, it’s time to create your will. While you can draft the will yourself, it always helps to have a lawyer who is well-versed in estate law to guide you through the process. You don’t want to leave anything out of your will, which is why it is suggested to hire a professional. Keep in mind if there are any mistakes or exclusions in your will, your estate might be subject to probate and may not be divided as per your desires.
Sign Your Will and Store it Safely
Once your will is complete, it needs to be legally signed and witnessed. Respect the laws around your jurisdiction, as states have different rules for executing wills. You also need to store your will correctly to avoid any issues or complications during distribution. Store your will safely and inform your executor where to find it upon your death.
Update Your Will Regularly
As life is constantly evolving, it's crucial to periodically review and update your will. Establish a regular schedule, such as every few years, to revisit your estate planning documents and ensure they accurately reflect your current desires and financial situation.
To learn more, contact a will drafting lawyer near you.