When it comes to estate planning, writing a will is one of the most important steps you can take. A will ensures that your property and assets are distributed per your wishes after you die. Marchese & Maynard, LLP, a New York Law Firm, wants you to know that there are several things to keep in mind when drafting a will, so here are some important considerations to keep in mind.
The Importance of A Well-Executed Will
Your will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your property and assets should be distributed after you die. This makes it an important tool in estate planning, as it can help to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes.
Without a will, your property will be subject to the laws of intestacy in your state, which dictate how property is distributed when someone dies without a will. Marchese & Maynard, LLP believe this can often lead to family members receiving less than they might have if you had drafted a will. Also, drafting a will can help avoid conflict among loved ones after you die, as it provides clear instructions on how you would like your belongings to be divided.
Essential Elements of A Will
While there are a few different types of wills, most wills must include certain elements to be valid. For instance, most states require that a will be written and signed by the testator (the person making the will). Additionally, witnesses are typically required to sign the will to attest that the testator was of sound mind when they signed the document.
It’s also important to include specific language in your will. For instance, you will need to state that you are revoking any previous wills or codicils (amendments to a will). You will also need to state that you are of sound mind and body and acting of your own free will.
Other important elements to include in your will may vary by state but can typically be divided into two categories: dispositive and administrative provisions. Dispositive provisions deal with the distribution of your property and assets. On the other hand, administrative provisions deal with appointing a guardian for minor children or naming an executor (the person who will carry out your wishes as outlined in the will).
Things to Consider When Drafting Your Will
Marchese & Maynard, LLP remind you that when drafting your will, there are several things to remember to ensure that it is valid and covers all of your bases. First, it’s important to be as specific as possible when outlining your wishes. This will help to avoid any confusion or ambiguity after you die.
You should also make sure to keep your will up to date. If you experience a significant life event, such as getting married, having children, or acquiring new property, you must update your will accordingly. Additionally, you should review your will periodically, even if there haven’t been any significant changes in your life, to ensure that it still reflects your wishes.
Finally, working with an experienced attorney is important when drafting your will. An attorney can help ensure that your will is valid and includes all necessary elements. They can also answer any questions about the estate planning process and guide you on how best to protect your assets and loved ones.
What Should Your Will Include?
While the specific elements of your will may vary depending on your state’s requirements, there are a few key things that every will should include. Here are some of the most important things to remember when drafting your will:
Be as specific as possible:
To avoid ambiguity and confusion, it’s important to be as specific as possible when outlining your wishes in your will. This includes clarifying who you want to receive, which assets, and why.
Include all of your assets:
Make sure to include all of your assets in your will, even if you think they might not be worth much. You may be surprised by how much value certain items have after you die.
Name an executor:
An executor is the person who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes as outlined in your will. Be sure to choose someone you trust who is organized and detail-oriented.
Name a guardian for minor children:
You must name a guardian in your will if you have minor children. This person will take care of your children if something happens to you.
Sign and date the document:
For your will to be valid, it must be signed and dated by you and witnesses. Make sure to sign and date the document in the presence of two witnesses, who should also sign and date the document.
Keep it updated:
As your life circumstances change, it’s important to update your will accordingly. This includes adding new assets, naming new beneficiaries, and changing your executor or guardian.
Work with an attorney:
An experienced estate planning attorney or firm like Marchese & Maynard, LLP can help ensure that your will is valid and includes all necessary elements. They can also guide how best to protect your assets and loved ones.
Depending on the value of your estate, you may be subject to estate taxes when you die. An experienced attorney can help you understand your state’s estate tax laws and minimize the taxes your family will owe after you die.
Don’t neglect digital assets:
In today’s digital world, it’s important to remember that your will should also include any digital assets you may have, such as online bank accounts, social media accounts, and cryptocurrency.
Marchese & Maynard, LLP understand that a will is a crucial tool in estate planning, as it can help to ensure that your property and assets are distributed according to your wishes after you die. There are a few things to keep in mind when drafting a will, such as making sure it’s specific and up to date and working with an experienced attorney. By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes.