Questions for Will Preparation

By A.L. Kennedy

When preparing a will, it's important to ask questions that help you gather the information you need. From deciding whether you need a will to figuring out who should receive what, a few key questions can make writing your last will and testament easier. You can also consult an attorney for answers to your will preparation questions.

When preparing a will, it's important to ask questions that help you gather the information you need. From deciding whether you need a will to figuring out who should receive what, a few key questions can make writing your last will and testament easier. You can also consult an attorney for answers to your will preparation questions.

Why Do I Need a Will?

Your will explains where your property should go when you die. If you have a will, you can choose nearly any person or charity to receive your property. If you die without a will, however, your property will be given to the person designated under state law -- usually, your spouse, children or parents. If you have no living relatives and no will, your property may end up belonging to the state when you die, according to the American Bar Association.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Does My Will Have to Be in Writing?

In most states, your will has to be in writing. About a dozen states accept nuncupative, or oral, wills. However, even in these states, an oral will can only be used in dire circumstances. No state accepts video wills without a written version, and as of 2010 only Nebraska accepts wills in electronic formats like computer files, according to the American Bar Association. You may handwrite your will or type it in any state as long as it meets the state's requirements for validity.

Who Is an Executor and Why Should I Choose One?

Your executor takes care of your property when you die. He also works with the probate court to make sure the people in your will get what you have left for them. In some states, the executor is also known as the "personal representative." You may name your own executor in your will. If you do not name an executor, or if the one you have named chooses not to serve or is unable to serve, the probate court will choose an executor from among the people listed in your will or from among your creditors, according to the American Bar Association.

Can I Leave My Property to Anyone?

You have the choice to leave your property to any person or charity you choose, with only a few restrictions. Most states will not let you write your current spouse out of your will entirely, unless you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement where your spouse agrees not to take anything under your will, according to the American Bar Association. You may write your children out of your will, but you should specify that you are leaving them out. Otherwise, a probate court may assume you simply forgot them and give them part of your estate anyway, according to FindLaw.

How Do I Make My Will Valid With Witnesses?

Forty-eight states require your will to be signed by you and by at least two witnesses. Vermont requires three witnesses, and Louisiana requires a notary in addition to two witnesses, according to FindLaw. Both you and your witnesses must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Your witnesses should watch you sign the will and write the date, then each witness should sign and date the will. Consult an attorney in your state to learn what special rules may apply to how a witness signs.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
The Making & Revocation of Wills

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Change Your Heirs in Your Will

In your will, you name an executor, the person who will manage your estate according to the distribution instructions that you also provide in your will. If your will meets your state's requirements, the probate court will uphold it and the executor becomes legally bound by its terms. He will have to give your property to the persons you named as the recipients of the property in your will. If you change your mind after you make your will, you must change your will or make a new one. Otherwise, people you don't want to inherit from you will receive property from your estate.

How To Create a Will In 3 Steps

A will directs how you would like your property distributed at your death. If you die without a will--referred to as dying intestate--your property will be distributed according to your state's laws. No state requires that wills be drafted by an attorney, so you may create your own will at home. Each state's laws are slightly different, and depending on your state, you may need to sign your will before witnesses.

How to Make a Last Will & Testament in Washington

A last will is a legal document that shows how you, the testator, want to distribute your property after your death. A will written in Washington state must follow Washington law. If the procedures are not followed, the will may be invalidated after your death.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Rules About Wills

Your will explains to those you leave behind how you want them to deal with your property when you die. It also allows ...

DIY for a Will and Testament

If your estate is small or you do not have minor children, you may decide to write your own will and testament. A DIY ...

Do You Need a Lawyer to Make a Will Legal?

Most U.S. states have a handful of specific items that must be included for a will to be valid. These include items ...

Preparation of Wills

Preparing a will is one way to ensure that your property will go to the people you choose to have it after your death. ...

Browse by category