Since ancient times people have made last Will and testaments stating exactly who is to inherit their property after they die and how much of it each heir is to receive. In the past it was common to do so when still relatively young, but now, when people live longer, they often postpone the making of their Wills under the assumption that they Will have plenty of time to attend to that later. It is imperative to have one made because in case of default, the state receives any property left by the deceased and the family members have no say in who eventually ends up getting it. That process is called probate and is absolutely something you want to try and avoid. This article will outline the steps to follow in making out your final Will.

Last Will Document with a pen

How To Make A Last Will and Testament

Every Will should begin with the words “Last Will and Testament of” followed by the full legal name of the testator (no nicknames allowed). The section that follows should state that the person making out this document is over the age of consent, is of sound mind and is not acting under duress. There should also be a statement that this Will overrides all Wills and codicils that have been made by the testator up to this point.

The will should contain the names of all the people whom you wish to inherit your property. You can indicate what percentage of the estate each beneficiary will receive or you can give absolute dollar amounts. If there is some organization to which you want to make a bequest, then include a section for that too.

Some people have a preference as to how they would like to have others dispose of their remains; there are those, for instance, who prefer cremation to burial. If you have such a preference you should indicate that in your will. Among the other things that can be included are where you want your ashes to be kept or spread out, and what other things you might want in your funeral proceedings.

Naming An Executor

The next thing that you need to do is to designate an executor for your will, someone whose duty it will be to carry out the instructions outlined within the Will. Make your choice wisely; it will normally be a member of your family or a close and trusted friend. You should also name an alternate executor in case the first proves unable to carry out his or her duties. Whoever you name, that person should be given the authority to sell whatever property you own and also to pay for whatever taxes and other debts you owe on the property, besides funeral expenses.

If you have children who are still minors, it might be a good idea to name somebody to take custody of them in case you or your spouse should die before they reach the age of majority. This part, however, is something that you should discuss with your family and friends first.

Picture of a Last Will And testament

The Role of The Notary Public

Every State has an appointed official called a notary public who plays a major role in Will and estate planning, including preparing and searching living wills and last wills and testaments. In all parts of the United States, with the exceptions of Louisiana and Puerto Rico, this official is not authorized to provide legal advice or to prepare documents. The purpose of the notary is to certify that your Will is being signed by and authored by you. This is an important step.

In closing this is just a brief informational piece on how to make a Will. We recommend that you actually consult an attorney who specializes in estate planning an in fact, you should never try to create a will yourself. This document is far too important to allow for mistakes on your part. Again, we recommend the only way to make or create a Will would be to hire a lawyer who specializes in this field.