A Will is the last statement you make regarding your life. It is very important that what you intend to include in your Will is stated correctly to be sure that your wishes are carried out. The primary function of a Will is to divide your assets as you wish upon your death. You need to make sure that the wishes you set forth in your Will can be acted upon without any legal issues or problems due to misinterpretations or incorrectly titled assets. It is best to use the services of an estate planning attorney to ensure that outcome.
It is important that your Will is prepared in such a way that it is difficult to challenge. The best way to do that is to be sure your will is correctly drafted and executed. Following are the recommended steps to be sure that happens:
- Pick an Executor who you feel is reliable and able to carry out the wishes you have set forth in your Will. This should be a person you can trust. Always be sure to assign a trustworthy alternate Executor as well.
- Give great thought to who you would like to be the beneficiaries of your Will, such as close family and/or friends. Make sure you consider all of your assets when preparing your Will and exactly how you would like everything distributed among the beneficiaries. Not all assets pass through the Will, these are non-probate assets. You must be sure beneficiary designations are consistent with your Will and/or overall estate plan.
- It is best to have your Will typed, rather than handwritten. Although the laws from State to State vary regarding this, it is in your best interest to have your document prepared this way in order to avoid any potential problems with the execution your Will.
- You must execute your Will in front of two witnesses and a notary. Be sure the witnesses and the notary you choose are not named in any way or have any beneficial interest in your Will. When executing your Will, be sure to put your initials on every page of the document. This will indicate that you have reviewed every page of the Will and make it more difficult for someone to change any of the pages.
- Keep an original Will in a safe place such as a water and fireproof safe. Be sure the executor and beneficiaries of your Will know where the document is being stored.
Your best bet for an easily enforceable Will is to use the services of an estate planning attorney. Your attorney can advise you on the best way to state your wishes in your Will and can make sure your Will is properly executed.