Generate A Last Will and Testament with LegalZone
What Is a Will?
Although it’s an unpleasant prospect, creating a legal Will is a way to ensure that your assets go to the people you care about when you pass. A Will designates beneficiaries who will receive specific assets after an individual (the “Grantor”) dies.
Without an official Will, your assets can become the property of the state. Your Will assigns an “executor” responsible for ensuring that your estate is transferred as indicated in the document.
A Will can cover your financial assets, property, cars, digital property, and other items of value. If you have children, in the event of your death, a Will can appoint your children’s guardian(s) until they become adults.
How Do I Write a Will?
When you’re ready to sit down and write your Will, the first thing to do is identify your assets and note who you would like to receive which assets.
The next step is to appoint an executor responsible for carrying out the terms of the Will. Often, a lawyer or someone the owner trusts is established as the executor. If you have children, decide who will be the guardian for your children. Additionally, having backup executors and guardians can provide an extra layer of security.
Once you have everything you want to include in your Will, you can draft the official document. When you’re ready to put it into effect, you’ll need two witnesses. (If you live in Colorado or Louisiana, you’ll also need a Notary.)
When the document has been signed, provide copies to the beneficiaries and your legal counsel, and store your copy in a safe place.
Which Is Better: A Will or a Trust?
Choosing a Will or Trust depends on what you need.
A Will only goes into effect when you die and covers any assets in your name. Wills can be used to name guardians, specify funeral and burial preferences, and is a public document. A Will must pass through probate to be valid.
Trusts go into effect as soon as they are signed and only cover property transferred into the Trust. Trusts are not public records and can be used to plan for physical incapacitation or save money on taxes. A Trust doesn’t have to go through probate to be valid.
You can create both a Will and a Trust if you want.
What Makes a Will Invalid?
Wills can be considered invalid in a court of law for multiple reasons, including mental incompetence, previous wills, and improper witnesses.
The person creating the Will must be mentally present and cannot be forced to sign the Will under duress. The witnesses must also confirm mental competence and be over the age of eighteen. If an update is made to an old Will, the previous Will should be destroyed.
Being of “sound mind” means that you understand that you are making the Will, you understand your relationship to the people mentioned in your Will, and you understand how you are choosing to distribute your property.
What Should You Never Put in Your Will?
Items you can’t put in your Will include:
- Joint Tenancy Property
- Property in a Living Trust
- Life Insurance Proceeds that have a Designated Beneficiary
- Retirement Plan Proceeds
- Stocks and Bonds Held in Beneficiary
- Proceeds from a Payable-on-Death Bank Account
Creating a Will with LegalZone
If you’re ready to draft your Last Will and Testament, we’re here to help you get everything in order. At LegalZone, we make legal documentation accessible and affordable for everyone so you can protect the things that matter most to you.
If you have any questions on what to include in your Will, reach out to us.
To get started with your document today.