People spend years in the workforce, working long hours to achieve a nest egg for the future. While this is great, all your assets will someday need to be handed down to someone else. People, who have children, will leave them their assets, but those that do not have children, will have more difficulty finding the perfect beneficiary. The best way to make your estate falls into the right hands is by writing a last will and testament, while you are still healthy and mentally stable. Below, you will discover more information on how to write a last will and testament.
DIY Or Hiring A Probate Attorney
Many people will decide to write their own will, but as soon as they discover the difficulty of understanding the state laws, they instantly change their mind. With this said, if you have experience with the state probate laws, you very well can write your will without issue. However, for those that are not familiar with the probate laws or the process of writing a will, your best option will be to hire a probate attorney.
Make Sure Your Identity Is Clear
When you begin devising the will, you will need to identify yourself. This basically means that you will need to prove to the probate court that you are, who you say you are, by providing the appropriate information. Always include your social security number, physical address, name and driver’s license number. You would be surprised at the number of people, who share the same name. So, to eliminate any confusion go ahead and include your date of birth, as well.
Making A Declaration
This step of the process involves showing the probate judge that you are of sound health. In the first sentence of your will, you will want to introduce the document as your last will and testament. For instance, start the document out by saying, “I, John Doe, declare that this is my last will and testament.” If you fail to include this introduction in the will, it could be argued in the probate court that the will is not legally binding or viable.
Nullify Previous Wills
It isn’t unusual for someone to write more than one will in his or her lifetime. Changes will occur throughout your lifetime that will require alterations in your living will and testament. Including a provision nullifying all the previous wills will be a necessity to eliminate any confusion. For example, you can utilize a statement like this, “I, John Doe, hereby revoke, cancel and annul all codicils and wills previously written by me, either severally or jointly.”
Of Sound Mind
If the testator of the will was not of sound mind, when the document was composed, it can be challenged in the probate court. Individuals, who suffer from dementia or Parkinson’s disease, are targets for scammers. With this said, you will need to prove to the judge that you are of sound mind, when you wrote the will. You may also want to prove that it was your idea to compose the will as it is documented. Many people will decide to record the execution of the will, so it can be provided, along with the will to the probate court.
Be sure to include a statement such as this in the will, “I, John Doe, declare that I am of sound mind and legal age to make this will.” This will prove that the testator’s mental capacity was stable and viable at the time the will was written.
As you can see, it is truly difficult to make a last will and testament. It will probably be in your best interest to hire an attorney to assist you with this process. Remember, just one little mistake can lead to a catastrophic ending. Also, make sure you familiarize with the legal terms of a will before getting started.
While writing a will is the first thought about transferring a property to your loved ones on your death, you can also use a transfer on death deed as an alternative to avoid probate, retain control and continuity of ownership.