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Do You Need a Will?

By on June 4, 2013

A last will and testament is a legal document that states exactly what you would like to happen to your assets when you die.

If you have responsibility for a family, older parents, a business, or simply a significant amount of assets (e.g. money, property, etc.) youseriously should consider how you’d like those items distributed, otherwise it could become very messy (and expensive) for those who survive you. In your living will and testament you will name your beneficiaries and exactly what you would like them to receive. A living will and testament can also name who you would like to care for your children as well as who you want to look after any assets you leave to your children until they reach 18 years of age. Also your last will and testament will name an executor of your will. Naming an executor is extremely important because this individual will carry out your wishes according to the exact instructions you lay out in your will.

How to make a last will and testament

Deciding how to make your will can be a difficult decision. There are several options but be careful, criteria varies depending on your state and a simple mistake can possibly invalidate a will. Once you have a will, be sure it’s updated every few years and let a trusted source know the exact location for easy access upon your death.

Options for Creating a Will

  • Write out your will by hand. If you pick this method you must make sure that the entire will is written by hand and is legible. If any portion of the will is typed, the will becomes invalid. A written will must be signed and dated by the individual writing it, as well as having witnesses.
  • California has a unique fill-in-the-blanks form, which is considered a statutory will. A statutory will cannot be customized and does not offer many choices as to who your assets will go to when you pass away. This is generally a good will to use if you do not have a large estate and do not plan to distribute your assets to a variety of people.
  • Many choose to have a lawyer create your will. This will ensure that your will follows state rules and regulations regarding last wills and testaments. A lawyer can offer advice on planning your will and can tailor your will to your specific needs. A lawyer can also assist you with estate planning.

Finally, if you choose to write your will, check out this resource website. And this one too. Planning ahead for the inevitable may be daunting but it will bring some peace of mind to those left behind that you cared enough to plan.

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