Writing a will is crucial when it comes to estate planning. But most people — including two in five Americans over the age of 45 — don’t have one. While making a will isn’t the most pleasant task, neglecting to put your wishes down on paper can cause a big headache for your loved ones down the road.
Here’s everything you need to consider when writing a will, according to a Tampa will attorney.
1. Determine who will draft your will
As more and more information is available online, some people opt to create “do-it-yourself wills” or “online wills.” If you choose to make your will yourself, there are many digital tools and resources available to help you. But you should be aware that wills are legal documents, so it’s worth getting professional input. Hiring an estate planning lawyer like Candela Law Firm, P.A., can help you navigate the complexities involved in this process.
2. Select your witnesses
If you decide to create a will by yourself, you will need to find witnesses. State laws vary on this, so it’s worth doing a little research into what the requirements are. For example, most states exclude your heirs as witnesses.
3. Choose your executor
The executor of your will is the person you choose to administer your estate. The executor does not have to be a beneficiary in your will. You can select a friend, family member, or even a “corporate executor” like an attorney or bank. If you choose a professional, you will need to set aside additional compensation.
4. Leave specific instructions
When creating your will, you should leave specific instructions for how you want your estate distributed. This should include detailed lists of items or particular instructions for selling or liquidating your assets. If you have investment accounts, large bank accounts, or real estate investments, you should consider placing your assets into a trust for your beneficiaries. More and more people are also drafting separate letters of instruction outlining their wishes, but this does not require a public filing as it is not a will.
5. Decide who to include as your beneficiaries
While you may already have your beneficiaries in mind, it’s something worth considering as you draft your will. For your non-liquid or non-traditional assets, choosing beneficiaries can be complicated. This is because certain items are impossible to divide unless they are sold. How do you decide who to leave your most precious things to? Or would you prefer that all of your items were sold and the assets split between your heirs?
6. Keep your will current
Life can change in the blink of an eye, so it’s always essential to keep your will in mind. You don’t want your assets going to someone you may have had a falling out with or the spouse you just divorced, for example. Reviewing your will every few years or whenever you have a significant life change will ensure that it’s up to date. Also, make sure that your bank accounts and information are current, which may require more frequent reviews other than every few years.
Plan for your future by hiring a Tampa will attorney
You can easily get help planning and writing your will with the help of a Tampa will attorney like Anthony Candela. At Candela Law Firm, we’re confident we can protect your family and assets and create as smooth of an administration process as possible. For a free consultation, get in touch with us now.