Creating a Will to Properly Prepare Your Estate

By on August 15, 2017

Preparing an estate is something that gets pushed to the side too often. But the fact of the matter is that having your estate prepared for prior to death makes the grieving process much easier on the ones you love when the time actually comes. To properly care for your estate, you will need to create a will. Below are three steps to do so.

Creating a Will

A will is the most important asset you have to properly prepare your estate. If you do not have a will in place already, it is time to create one. If you do have a will already in place, make sure it is up-to-date with your latest belongings and estate acquisitions.

Keep in mind that the more you own, the longer it will take to sort through. In this instance, you may want to hire a lawyer to help you sort out your belongings and make sure all estate plans are made properly.

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If you choose to create a will on your own, here are the proper steps for you to take.

Step 1 – Draft your will

For those of you who need to create a will, the process is not as hard as it seems. If you do not own a lot of property, you can create a will yourself as long as you have at least two witnesses there to sign it. Or you can create a will online using RocketLawyer or LegalZoom.

As you begin to think about your will and estate, you also need to think about who is going to be named executor of your estate. The executor of your estate is the individual who handles all your property, finances, and debts when you pass. Think of the people in your life who you trust very much. Those are the individuals you should declare executor of your will. Be aware of the fact that the executor of your estate does not have any power over anything until after you die.

Clearly identify the people you are stating in your will to eliminate any discrepancies there could be. In most states, the spouse has a legal right to inherit all that is yours. In order to disinherit a spouse, you will need to seek professional legal advice.

Your last will and testament designates more than just your property or the executor. It is a document that should include who gains guardianship of your children if they are not of age (18 years old). Both parents must agree on who will be the person or persons caring for the children.

Step 2 – Funeral Arrangements

This step is not a step that everyone needs to take, but is necessary if you have specific funeral arrangements you would like to have happen at your funeral or memorial service. You will want this to be in writing so your family knows your wishes. This also relieves a little stress from your family during the planning process.

Arrangements to consider consist of purchasing your preferred grave plot at a specific cemetery, arrangements for where you might like to be cremated, and possibly prepaying for any of these arrangements ahead of time.

Step 3 – Legally bind your will

To legally bind your will in most states, you will need at least two witnesses. Some states require three witnesses, and it is important to check what your state requires before you proceed. These witnesses cannot be someone listed as a beneficiary anywhere on your will. The people you choose as your witnesses only need to see you physically sign the will, they do not have to read it. You may also want to get your will notarized by a notary public.

By taking these three steps to create a will, you can properly prepare your estate on your own and without a lawyer.

Angalena Malavenda works on outreach for Providence Place, an independent living and personal care community in Central Pennsylvania. Providence Place simplifies retirement living and provides the right amount of care for several life stages.


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Creating a Will to Properly Prepare Your Estate