A will is something many of us think about, but may not understand how to start. Did you know that in most states if there is no will, your state’s laws will determine how your estate is divided up? When there are no living relatives, any assets may go right to your state. This whole will things may sound confusing, but an attorney can guide you through the process.
When considering a will you will want to make a list of assets. Do you own property; perhaps a house or vehicle? Are there stocks and bonds or a savings account? Remember that baseball card collection that you started in the 1940’s? I bet it’s worth something. Any item you have that you want to go to a specific person should be included on this list. You can specifically name individuals to receive an asset or have the asset sold and the value divided up between your heirs.
When making up a will, you will need to specify an executor. This person is responsible for seeing that your will is carried out the way you intended. Normally it’s a good idea to select a lawyer or other professional to be your executor. You may think it’s appropriate to pick a close family member that you trust, but leaving these details to a grieving family member may not be in your best interests. Also keep in mind that if there are minor children a guardian will need to be named. Without a designated guardian the care of any surviving minor children may revert to the state.
After writing and reviewing your will, it needs to be signed and witnessed. Witnesses to your will do not need to read the document. They only need to know this is your last will and testament. They will sign the will attesting it is a legal will. The will is then kept in a safe place until your unfortunate passing.
There are people who prepare and execute their own wills. There is nothing wrong with this and those wills are perfectly legal, however, because a will can be complicated it is always a good idea to retain a lawyer to assist in this. There are too many legal loopholes that can cause family in-fighting if not addressed correctly. So, if your ex-wife’s step son’s brother is someone you don’t want getting his hands on one red cent from you, get out there and make a will with an attorney.