- What You Can And Cannot Do In A Will
- How To Locate An Attorney To Write Your Will
- What Is A Will?
- Does My Existing Will Need To Be Updated?
- What If I Die Without A Will? (Intestate)
- How Much Does It Cost To Prepare A Will?
- What Makes A Will Valid?
- What If I Want To Write My Will Myself?
- What If I Want To Leave Money Or Another Asset To A Minor?
- Legal Consequences Of Various Forms Of Ownership
- What If My Debts Exceed My Assets?
- What To Do If You Write Your Will Yourself
- What To Do If Personal Property Is Left To Be Divided
- What Should I Do About OnLine Accounts?
- Should I Speak With My Heirs About What Is In My Will?
- What Should I Do After I Execute A Will?
A Will is a legal document which controls what happens to your property, and property in which you have an interest, after your death.
Regardless of your health, wealth, or marital status, it is important to have a challenge-resistant, legally valid, up-to-date Will. If you don't have a Will or it is invalid, your assets will pass according to what the state decides your wishes are. (This is known as dying "intestate.")
It is possible to write a Will yourself, without the help of a lawyer. However, if you do, it is advisable to at least have a lawyer review it and oversee the execution to be sure it is done in accordance with the law of the state in which you reside and to help make it challenge proof. You won't be here to fix any mistakes.
After writing a Will, it is advisable to:
- Make a photocopy without unstapling the Will. (If you unstaple it, there will be a question later about what pages are part of the original and which ones are not.)
- Store the original in a safe place that is readily accessible.
- Check the content of your AWill periodically to be sure it is up-to-date.
- Consider telling your heirs what is in your Will. Experience indicates that telling your heirs about your intentions can eliminate problems afterward and help assure that your wishes will be carried out.
If you already have a Will, review it to see whether it needs to be updated.
Following are links to information about the following frequently asked-about subjects:
- In general
- Getting ready to write a Will
- Will preparation
- How To Protect Your Will Against Challenges
- After a will is executed
For information about when people can expect to receive their inheritance, click here.
NOTE: In addition to a Will, it is advisable to:
- Write a list of "who-gets-'what", and to update it at least once a year. A list of "who-gets-what" covers the items that don't have a lot of monetary value but may be immense sentimental or historical value. Without such a list, items you think of as valuable may end up in the trash or at the local thrift store, or even end up with the wrong person.
- Write a List of Instructions which gives people practical information in case you become incapacitated or die. For example, the List tells people where your property is located, and how to maintain it.
- Wite an Heir Game Plan. It provides people a practical guidelines of what to do in the event of your death.
- Make sure your pets are taken care of if you don't specifically include them in your Will.
- If no one will be living in your home immediately after you die, ask a trusted person to look after the property while it is vacant. Empty houses invite vandalism. Damage from a storm or leak which isn't taken care of can be devastating. Don't rely solely on Homeowners Insurance.
- Consider writing an Ethical Will to pass on your values
- Be sure that someone knows where you store your passwords for your computer, mobile devices, online accounts etc. You can store your passwords online through such services as Legacy Locker , Planned Departure and SecureSafe
To Learn More
More InformationPets 101 Avoiding Probate Probate Storing Your Will Planning For The Care of Your Pets Choosing A Personal Representative/Executor For Your Will How To Make Your Will Challenge Proof How To Prepare Your Will Information To Compile Before Preparing A Will
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