5 common things to know when preparing your will
Seems a tad bit early and still not quite the right time to draft your will, isn’t it?
We thought so, too. But we realized we’ll never know what’s in it for us today or in the next 10 years. Anything can happen without us looking or expecting. It’s only logical to be prepared for anything and everything.
Yes, that includes your will and testament. Writing a will requires some serious thought as well as a handful of state rules to follow. But it’s one of the most important documents you should prepare beforehand. You don’t want your inheritance to go down the drain or in the wrong hands, do you?
Photo by MJ S/Unsplash
Here are 5 common things you should know when preparing to write your own will:
You can do it yourself. Don’t wait til you’re on the verge of retirement before you start dealing with writing your will. You can do it as early as you want to. And you can do it by yourself, without hiring a lawyer. Although, consulting with one would be recommended if you’re under complicated situations (i.e. divorce, tax issues, numerous assets, etc.)
When doing your own will, ensure that you know your state’s rules regarding it. If you’re hesitant to do so since you lack proper knowledge about it, a consultation with a lawyer will walk you through the process. It’s likely they already have basic will packages prepared, it won’t cost much either so you’re good to go.
Write your will in any form. You can either write or type (and print) your own will. When opting to handwrite your will, make sure that it’s valid and contains all the relevant information needed that makes it so—this means signing it, indicating the date, your address, addresses of beneficiaries, and other important details. Do keep in mind as well that requirements are different for each state.
What happens if you don’t prepare one. Death is inevitable and often times unforeseen. If a person passes without a will prepared, their inheritance will be governed by the state’s law of intestate.
Basically, the assets or properties of the deceased will pass onto the spouse and children. If there’s none, it will pass onto the closest relative/s. If there are still no one to acquire it, the properties shall then be received by the state. You see, it’s really a lot easier for everyone if you prepare everything, including your will, as early as now.
Mistakes can get it nullified. You happen to unclip the staple of the will? It’s now void. Will not signed by a witness? Void. No date included when it was signed by the deceased and the witness? Void.
These are only a few of the mistakes that can make a will invalid—mistakes that people can overlook. Before you settle with your will, ask a lawyer if all is well and you can move onto the next step.
You need a witness. As mentioned earlier, a witness should sign the will of the person to make it valid and can attest that the will is indeed signed and written by the person. No coercion or suspicious negotiations involved.
You need to note that the witnesses should be over the age of 18 and are not in line of your inheritance, or a beneficiary. Why? Because this is where conflict of interest comes to play. If you happen to hire a lawyer to draft your will, they can’t serve as a witness.
It doesn’t matter if you have a huge estate or small, whether you’re past the retirement age or as starting your journey at 20, with or without kids. Let your will speak for where you prefer your inheritance to go or choose a guardian for your kids. Is there anything you want to add? Share us your thoughts!
About Chie Suarez
A huge fan of crime tv shows and films, Chie Suarez also has a knack for writing. She writes for Barwick Boitano Lawyers, a firm of lawyers and legal team offering expert advice and legal solutions to clients in Parramatta and Sydney’s western suburbs since 1991.