Everyone’s family situation is different, but nearly everyone has assets and belongings that deserve to be taken care of and distributed the way they want them to be. It is extremely important to have a properly drafted will that takes care of your assets in time of uncertainty.
Writing your will doesn’t have to wait until you’re nearing retirement. If fact, many young people can (and should) prepare their wills, especially if they have any substantial possessions or wealth. Especially if you have minor children, it is critical that you have a will. Your will is where you specify who will take care of your children if something were to happen to you.
The process of writing a will is pretty straightforward and there are people that can help. A lawyer should always be consulted to make sure everything is done properly. It’s also important to do some research, which is why we’ve provided some tips to guide you through the process:
- Before you begin writing, carefully consider who drafts your documents. You beneficiaries should not be involved, and ideally you will consult an attorney.
- Understand that online tools can reduce cost, but it is a lot cheaper to pay a licensed estate planning attorney so you know it’s done right. Otherwise you may have to hire lawyers to fix errors or battle claims against a badly written will.
- Check with the BBB and Martindale peer reviews available online. A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.
- Consider two executors to appoint. The role of an executor is very important and requires a lot of responsibility as they will be dealing with handling the estate. They should be capable and trustworthy to handle their role. And don’t forget to make sure they themselves are willing to be one.
- Sign your will properly. You must have two witnesses during this process. Witnesses cannot be any beneficiary or anyone married to a beneficiary. A licensed notary will be able to guide you through this process.
- If you have minor children, you must appoint a guardian. It is wise to not make the guardian the same as the trustee. The trustee is someone you must appoint to look over and manage your money and investments until the beneficiary is old enough to receive them. The trustee must be trustworthy and financially savvy. Carefully consider these steps for the wellbeing of the children.
- Once your will is written, be sure to store it in a safe place and tell family members where it is. It is no good to anyone if it is lost or destroyed. You should not put it in a safety deposit box at the bank because if something happened to you, there is no easy way to retrieve it. Consider a fire resistant safe for your home.