“Contemplating ones death is not a pleasant exercise, which is why so many people put off making a legal will until it is too late. If you do not have a will at the time of your death, the government will decide on the disposal and distribution of your property and assets – something that may be quite contrary to what you had planned but never got around to putting down on paper. And when your will is being read, you will not be around to offer any clarifications!
Whether you consult a lawyers or use any of the array of free resources available to write your own will, there are some thing that you must keep in mind to ensure that you are making a legal will. Why use the word “legal” with a will? That’s because a will is a legal document and like all legal papers, it has to be prepared very carefully to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts later on. That’s why making a legal will is more than just writing down who gets what after you have gone. Here are the basic “Ten Commandments” of making a legal will.
Ten Steps To Making A Legal Will
Begin by stating that this is your last will and testament. Give your full name and, if needed, any unique identification that may be required to prevent any confusion with someone else. The next step in making a legal will is to confirm that you are of sound mind and that you are not writing the will under duress or while being influenced by anyone. Make it clear that this will revokes any previous ones that you may have created.
Making a legal will is one thing, but executing it is another. That is why the will must mention the person who will be the executor – the person who will ensure that your wishes are carried out. The executor will have to pay taxes, legal fees and clear any debts you may leave behind. When making a legal will it is important to authorize the executor to make any payments and undertake any financial activities that may be required for the settlement of your estate.
Mention each beneficiary clearly and state exactly what he or she will be getting. Leaving no room for doubts or arguments about inheritances is the essence of legal will preparation. Mention the type of funeral you would like so that your family can carry out your last wishes. If you are leaving minor children behind, make sure that you have nominated a guardian for them.
If any assets are being left in trusts, specify who will be the managers of these trusts. Obviously when making a legal will, you will have to sign it. Get the number of witnesses that are required by law to witness your signature. Making a legal will means leaving no room for doubts. Sign the will and have the witnesses sign in the presence of a notary who will verify the signatures. This can save a lot of time in subsequent verification.”