Making a will is an emotional process. It dawns on you that this is about your mortality and the lives of those you care about the most. You want this crucial paper to be correct. Before you create your Will, you should be familiar with its components: legal terms, how to list assets and beneficiaries, and how to write bequests and specific instructions properly. To make the process a little easier, we’ll break down the major elements of a Will.
What is the difference between a will and a testament?
A last will is a legal document that expresses your desires for how your estate should be distributed after you pass away. It is the most important part of an estate plan. It enables you to make a list of the assets you want to leave behind and designate beneficiaries to receive them.
You name an executor in your Will, and he or she is in charge of carrying out the directions you leave in the document. If you have little children, you can appoint a guardian to look after them if you become incapacitated.
This document takes effect after you die, and it must be validated by the probate court in the county where you live.
If you die without a Will, the state will inherit your property and distribute it according to its intestacy laws. It’s possible that somebody you don’t want to inherit anything end up with a valuable item. A will allows you to direct how your estate is handled when you pass away.
What Are the Different Types of Wills?
There are various parts to a will.
Here’s how it works:
1. The name –
This section, often known as the prelude, must be written at the beginning of the document.
“Last will of (your name)” is a simple way to write it.
2. Testator’s entire legal name – As Will’s maker, you must write your full legal name in the title as indicated above.
3. Revocation of earlier Wills – You must add a statement in your new Will cancelling all previous Wills and codicils.
4. Family statement – Include your spouse’s and children’s names.
5. Declaration – This is a statement that includes your name and address and states that you are of legal age and sound mind, as well as that this is your last will. You must also state that you are not being pressured or influenced in the creation of your Will.
- Name the executor (also known as the personal representative) who will be in charge of your estate’s administration.
- Designate a guardian for minor children — If you have minor children, you can designate a guardian to look after them if you become incapacitated. If a surviving spouse is found competent and there are no legal concerns, legal custody of minor children automatically falls to them.
8. Leaving unique gifts – These are valuable objects – monetary or sentimental – that you want to leave to a loved one or a favoured charity when you pass away.
A stock, specified cash amounts, an automobile, a vacation property, or an heirloom could all be considered.
Name and thoroughly define any specific possessions you want to leave behind.
If you have a pet, you can name it in your Will, as well as the person you wish to care for it after you die.
Pets, on the other hand, are considered property and cannot be named as a beneficiary.
9. Residuary clause – This is a clause in your Will that effectively covers the majority of your assets after all of the estate’s bills have been paid and assets bequeathed. This would also cover any stray assets you might have overlooked when drafting your Will. You can simply declare that any leftover assets should be left to a specific beneficiary, divided among a group of beneficiaries, or distributed by the executor.
10. List beneficiaries — Write the asset you want each beneficiary to receive next to their name, along with instructions for how and when the executor should transfer it. If you’re leaving money to a son or daughter, for example, you could specify that the money is transferred when they reach a certain age or finish college.
11. Special provisions – Because minor children cannot receive assets until they reach the age of 18, you can make a provision in your Will to establish a Trust for them. You can put money or property into this Trust and name minor children as beneficiaries when they reach legal age.
12. Signature — For the document to be valid, you must sign it with your legal name.
13. Signatures of witnesses — When signing a Will, most states require at least two witnesses.
After witnessing your signature, they must sign the document.
14. Notary seal – Having your Will notarized by a notary public is highly advised. This aids in proving Will’s authenticity and may expedite the probate procedure.
A self-proving affidavit that validates your signature and the signatures of the witnesses can also be included with the Will.