Do you have a will? If you don’t, it’s time to sit down and talk about why one is so important for you.
You’re getting older, and although you’re in good health, anything could happen. A car crash could impact you and leave you with severe disabilities. You could become sick from a disease. You could suddenly pass away from an underlying condition.
In any case, it’s essential that you have a will and estate plan in place. A will is, at its core, your written instructions for what you want to see happen to your property after death. To create a will, you will need to be at least 18 years old and be of sound mind.
Wills should be written in the majority of cases. Additionally, notarizing your will and having it witnessed by disinterested parties is important for verifying that it is legal and binding.
What can a will do?
A will has the power to decide who gets property. The state will not be able to determine who gets your property if you do it through your own will, except for in cases where an asset has not been assigned.
In your will, you should also name a personal representative for your estate. This person, called an executor, will manage your estate after you pass away. If you have one person in mind, you may want to add a second as a backup. That way, if the first executor can’t take on the job or passes away, there will be someone else to take on the role.
Your will can also help you establish a guardian for small children and dependents in your care. If you have kids now, or if you take care of an adult child, it’s worth having a will and talking to your attorney about other steps you can take to protect them.
How long does it take to create a will?
It may not take long at all. When you speak with your attorney, you’ll want to discuss the different assets and documents that your attorney needs to help you draw up an estate plan and will. For example, you may want to know which assets you want to leave to beneficiaries, have guardians in mind for your children or know who you want to have as a health care agent in the future. All of this information can help your attorney build the right will for you.