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The Do's and Don'ts of Writing a Will

It's an important topic, but unfortunately, it's one that many people would rather avoid: writing a will. After all, considering our last will and testament forces us to think about our own mortality, a subject that is uncomfortable for many. However, without a will in place, your loved ones-- otherwise known as your beneficiaries-- won't necessarily have access to your property and possessions in the event of your death. Let's consider some reasons why having a will is necessary and what you should know before writing your will.

Why do I need a will?

A common mistake people make is assuming that they're too young to have a will. While it's certainly important for senior citizens to have a will, it's also a wise idea for adults of all ages to have a will-- particularly if they have children. After all, you never know when your time on earth will come to an end and there's always the possibility of it happening unexpectedly. Consider the following reasons you should have a will:

  • Protection for your young children. If you have minor children, your will can state who will care for them in the event of your passing.
  • Safeguard your assets. Make sure that your assets are protected for your loved ones and potentially for future generations.
  • Name trusted individuals to handle the administrative tasks associated with distributing your property and possessions.
  • Provide clarity on a number of issues, ranging from residential care to tax planning.

Writing a will: do's and don'ts

Now that you know why you should have a will, let's consider some do's and don'ts to keep in mind while writing your will:

  • Do express your wishes clearly. When writing a will, there isn't any room for misinterpretation. Make sure your wishes are stated clearly and that they're written legibly so that there's no possibility for questions or confusion.
  • Don't make an alternative version of a will. Sometimes, people decide to make a fun or quirky version of a will to add a personal touch to an otherwise mundane legal document. The problem with creative or alternative wills, however, is that they're not legally binding. In short, keep your will traditional and in writing so that you can be sure it's legal.
  • Don't forget to update your will. Often, people make a will but then neglect to update it. This is problematic for a number of reasons. As years pass, people are divorced and remarried, children are born, step-children become part of the family, and many other life changing events occur. If you don't update your will, uncomfortable situations can result. In short, make sure to update your will, particularly after life-altering events.

Because wills are complex documents that require exact wording, consider working with a lawyer to ensure that you're creating this vital document properly. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Categories: Wills & Trusts
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