Writing Your Will

A majority of Americans believes that estate planning is a necessity reserved only for the wealthy. After all, only people with significant assets and properties, such as successful attorney Ali Mokaram from the Mokaram Law Firm, will have enough to properly distribute what they own to beneficiaries. This, however, can’t be farther from the truth. In fact, it’s a common misconception that can leave plenty of individuals in dire situations. Estate planning helps individuals have control on how their properties and finances will handled after death, ensuring their families and loved ones are well taken care of.

The first step to estate planning is the writing of a Will. This official legal document will hold declarations regarding how specific assets and properties should be divided and distributed, along with other related concerns. Important decisions that are typically included in a Will include plans for dividing and distributing estate, the name of chosen beneficiaries, and personal choices regarding end-of-life care. Individuals with children can also add the name of legal guardians who will take over childcare.

Aside from the details above, the Will also needs to bear the name of the executor. This person will be responsible for making sure all arrangements and decisions written in the Will are properly accomplished. As such, the executor needs to be someone known to be trustworthy and responsible. In the eyes of the law, anyone who is 18 or older and hasn’t been charged with a crime can be named an executor. Anyone who declines the responsibility will have to file a declination and will be replaced as decided by the court.

It’s also important to note that writing a Will is a long and constant process. A proper Will needs to be constantly updated, especially for the following scenarios:

  • Change in value of estate
  • Change in marital status
  • Change in address
  • Death or incapacitation of executor
  • Death of beneficiary
  • Becomes a parent

A Will is automatically considered an official legal document as long as it was written by an individual 18 years of age and older with sound judgment and full mental capacity. It’s also important that the document explicitly states its purpose and the name of the executor. While it is official declared valid when signed in the presence of two witnesses, USA.gov also advises that the Will be notarized to avoid any conflict and invalid claim. Most Wills contests stem from the use of ambiguous words or contain false information. A Will made under duress can also cause a lot of problems for the executor and beneficiaries. This scenario could also fall under the categories of undue influence or nursing home abuse.

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