You don’t have to be an expert in emotions to know that writing a will is not the most pleasant of experiences. Not only will you be preparing for what happens to your belongings after your death, you’ll also be talking about it. This is one reason many people avoid estate planning.
Putting all of your last wishes on a piece of paper will help your loved ones avoid unnecessary hassles, and you’ll also get peace of mind knowing that your valuables will end up in the right hands. Lets talk about what you should know when preparing to write a will.
Get peace of mind that you deserve when drafting a will. Contact our probate lawyers in McAllen today!
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document where you declare who will manage your estate when you pass away. An estate can be anything from a vehicle, home or even smaller things that you hold dear to your heart. The person you choose to manage your estate is called an “executor” because he or she will make sure that your last wishes are met. A will can also state who will become the guardians of your children or if you want specific items left to certain people. Any person that will receive property is called a “beneficiary.”
What Will Happen if I Don’t Have One?
If you pass away without a will, then your property will become “intestate”. This means that state laws will be used to handle your belongings. Probate will then begin the legal process of transferring your property to rightful heirs. If there is no will, a judge will appoint an administrator to oversee the process. The same happens if a will does exist but is deemed invalid. Remember, a will must meet certain requirements, such as the presence of a witness when it’s signed by whoever writes it, to be valid.
Get Legal Help
Although legal counsel isn’t required to draft a will, an experienced lawyer can provide very important advice and information on living trusts and estate planning. You can write a will yourself, but it must meet legal requirements set by the state. It’s not as simple as putting pen to paper, and the last thing you want is to leave a document that isn’t valid at a time when your loved ones need it most.
Have a Witness
Anyone can be a witness when you sign your will, but always keep in mind that it should be someone who isn’t a beneficiary as this can cause a conflict of interest. Relatives and loved ones will certainly start to question the validity of a will when someone close to whoever drafted it is listed as a beneficiary.
Leaving Certain Items to Certain Heirs
If there are specific items that you want left to a certain person, specifically state so in your will. This is done with a letter of instruction. In it, you can detail in a more informed fashion of who gets what. You can also include more specifics on other things, such as burial instructions and passwords to certain accounts.
Where Should I Keep It?
The most recent will is the one a court usually calls upon in order to process your estate, so as you can assume, it’s very important to keep the document safe and secure. Putting it in a safe box may require a court order to access it. Instead, think about a safe in your home as an alternative. Be sure to inform your attorney about your intentions. Also, it’s very important that if a will is altered in any way, specifically state that the older draft is void to prevent confusion over which of the two copies is the valid one.
Let Us Help You
At Barrera, Sanchez & Associates, P.C., we’re dedicated in helping individuals and families prepare for the future. The last thing you want your family to worry about is your personal belongings and who gets what during an emotionally difficult time. Call our lawyers in McAllen today about how a will can make things easier for you and your family.