A will is a written document that explains the person’s wishes about how his or her estate and assets should be taken care of and distributed after death. Such assets typically consist of real estate, investments, personal and household belongings. A will is important because it simplifies matters upon your death and allows for the assets to be distributed according to your wishes.
Who Can Make a Will
Anyone over the age of 18 can make a will. The law requires an individual to be of “sound mind” when making a will. This means that the individual is not suffering from a mental impairment that stops him or her from knowing what they are doing.
Types of Wills
There are two kinds of wills. A handwritten will is called a “holograph” will and is legal. It must be handwritten in your own handwriting, dated and signed at the end.
A typed will has to be dated and signed in front of two witnesses. The two witnesses must also sign the will. The two witnesses cannot be people who will get something from the estate when you die. It is important that all three signatories are together when signing.
Requirements for a Valid Will
A will must include the following:
· the individual’s full name and address;
· state who will be the executor (a person who will carry out the terms of a will) and the beneficiaries (individuals entitled to something in your will);
· state how should your assets be distributed. Each category must be outlined separately;
· include a statement testifying that you are signing the will. It must include the number of pages in the will and the date of signing the will; and
· a signature of the testator at the end.
Depending on your circumstances you may wish to include the following:
· if you have children under 18 years of age you should name a guardian for them;
· if you have children under 18 years of age and they are entitled to a gift, you should appoint the executor to have the power to hold assets for children until they reach the age of majority;
· outline any funeral arrangements.
After You are Finished
It is important for the executor to know where the will is. Also, if you make a copy of the will, make sure to write ‘COPY’ on all the pages.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
There is no legal requirement to have a lawyer prepare your will. However, you may want to get legal advice in the following situations:
· if you have a history of mental impairment
· if your estate is likely to be very large
· if you own assets outside of
· if you are about to be married
· if you have recently separated from your spouse
Seeking the Advice of a Professional
If you have decided it is time to seek the advice of a professional ensure to email us your contact information and one of our lawyers will contact you promptly.
Nothing on this website constitutes legal advice. If you face a legal issue, you should take specific legal advice from a lawyer before taking any action. Three60Legal takes every reasonable step to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website. However, Three60Legal accepts no liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from the use of this site.
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