A will is perhaps the best and easiest way to make sure your property and assets go to the people you want to have them after you die. Here's a list of some important things to remember when it comes to making a will.
Wills Top 10
Having a valid will is important for anyone with a family or anyone who owns property or has assets like cash or collectibles. In most instances, it's a quick, easy and inexpensive process, and, in any event, it's always worth the time and effort.
- If you don't have a will, state law determines who gets your property and assets
- Intestacy means there's no will at all or a will isn't legally valid
- Only adults of "sound mind" may make a will
- A will needs to be in writing and signed by you (testator) in front of witnesses or it could be challenged in a will contest
- A handwritten will may be OK, but it's better to type it or use a form. If you can't sign, you can name someone to sign it for you
- Name an "executor" or representative to make sure your wishes are carried out
- You can specify that certain things go to certain people, called "beneficiaries" or "devisees"
- Guardians to take care of your children should be named
- You can change your will later by adding a "codicil"
- Usually, you can't leave your spouse or minor children out of your will (called "disinheriting")
Contact a wills and probate attorney if you have any questions about your will.