Planning for your death is daunting. However, pre-planning your directives and other important decisions remove the burden from your loved ones. In many ways, a comprehensive will and testament is the last loving gesture you can provide for your family. You should spend time preparing your last will and testament before you even begin putting anything into writing.
Make a List
Make a list of all your assets, including investments, home, car, furniture, bank accounts and business holdings. Preparing a list will not only help you become more organized, you’ll also realize how much there is for your family to take care of after you pass. You will have a better understanding of how to help them.
Select an Executor of the Will
Selecting an executor can be a difficult decision. You need to pick someone who will outlive you and who you trust. Also, consider any family dynamics that could cause problems. Many people look to executors outside of the family to help minimize drama, because the executor will likely have little to no personal stake in the will. Once you’ve selected the person, you need to ask them if they’re willing. If not, find someone else.
Find an Attorney
Whether you’re writing your own will or having a professional write it for you, you need to have an attorney look it over. Writing your own will is very complicated, but there are many websites and templates to guide you. It is essential for an attorney to review the document to ensure it was done properly. Each state has a different set of requirements for wills. In some states wills have to be signed in front of witnesses. You have to make several declarations, including that you are of age, of sound mind and identify yourself with your Social Security number.
Storing the Will
Hiding your will is never a good idea, so tell your family where you keep it. Safety deposit boxes or safes are ideal places for your will. The executor will ultimately be the person to take the will and communicate your final wishes.