What Exactly is a Will?
A will is a written document that states how you would like your property distributed after your death. If you die without a will, the law will decide how to distribute your assets, and your property might be given to someone whom you never meant to receive it. Wills are not difficult to create, but they do need to be carefully thought out concerning the best people to inherit and manage the things that are important to you.
Is There More Than One Type of Will?
The “Last Will & Testament” is what most people refer to when speaking about their wills. In this document, you state each asset you wish to distribute and who it will be given to after your death.
A “Living Will” is the document that states your wishes for receiving or not receiving life-sustaining medical treatment or intervention if you become unable to decide for yourself. Many people create a living will in addition to a health care proxy and a durable power-of-attorney (known as “advance directives) to make sure their medical and financial decisions are carried out.
What Should I Include in My Will?
It is a good idea to make a complete list of all your property and assets to make sure each asset is included. In particular, you will want to be sure that you name a guardian if you have minor children, that you name your executor (the person who administers your will, usually your spouse), and that you state who will inherit your property and possessions, and in what amount. It is also possible to create what is known as a “Testamentary Trust” in your will.
Read the Secrets of an Ironclad Estate Plan for more tips on creating your will
Why Do I Need an Attorney to Help Create My Will?
While it is possible to create your will on your own, an experienced estate planning attorney can advise you while you are dividing your property and assets, and explain where taxes, exemptions, and certain exceptions apply. An attorney can also help you use estate planning tools such as trusts and advance directives to further protect your property and your wishes after your death. Finally, an attorney will be able to step in if any part of your will is disputed in the future.
Contact us if you have any questions about creating your will.