Writing a will is not a simple task. It is filled with legal language that can confuse the first read and emotional weight of parting ways with your worldly possessions. Nevertheless, every person should have a will regardless of age, marital status, or financial situation.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Wills allow you to outline how you want to distribute your assets after death and protect these wishes from being overridden by a court in the event of a probate hearing.

In order for a will to be valid,

It Must Meet These Requirements:

Appoint an Executor

The first step to creating a will is deciding who you want as the person who will oversee carrying out financial transactions on your behalf after your death. Consider paying for Wegman Partners legal services to help with the process.

Be very mindful that the person you choose as executor is capable of understanding your wishes and being able to carry them out. You should make sure they understand what will happen after you die and how they’ll handle any assets (cash, investments, etc.) and debts (loans and mortgages).

Detail Your Assets

You must provide a complete list of all your assets, including cash on hand, bank accounts, stocks or bonds, retirement accounts, life insurance policies.

If you have any children under 18 years old, name an appropriate adult guardian who can take care of their affairs until they are legally entitled to run their own finances.

It is important that the document is clear enough for someone who does not know you well to understand. For example, you can use phrases like “I leave my estate to my spouse, John Doe,” or “I give all of my money to my children, Jane, and Tim Smith.”

Also, mention what would happen if there were no named beneficiaries for these funds in case it’s pertinent information for someone taking on this responsibility.

Names The Beneficiaries

Before you die, if possible, make sure all your assets are transferred to the appropriate people. For example, name a beneficiary for each account you own and give clear instructions about how those funds should be distributed after your death.

Make a separate will for each asset a beneficiary might inherit from you so that their assets aren’t lost or combined with someone else’s inheritance. For example — write one will for all bank accounts in one envelope, another for retirement accounts, and still another for stocks and bonds held outside of an investment account, etc.

Take All Accounts Into Consideration

After writing out your will, it is very important not to forget about life insurance policies, real estate, business interests, and retirement accounts! Unfortunately, life insurance policies do not have a beneficiary designation form needed during death — it’s typically done through legal channels.

For this reason, ensure that your life insurance policy is not one of the items left out of the will. Likewise, if you are leaving real estate, it’s necessary to transfer these assets into someone else’s name before your death.

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