Delaying in creating a last will and testament could have serious consequences for you and your family. If something happens and you die without a last will, state intestacy laws will determine how your property is distributed. This may not be in accordance with your wishes.
Creating a last will gives you the opportunity to choose who will receive your property and act as the executor or personal representative of your estate. You can also appoint a guardian for your minor children in your last will.
What is a last will and testament?
A last will and testament is a legal document that allows you to control how your property and assets will be distributed after your death. You can use a last will to:
- designate who will receive your property
- name an executor or personal representative to manage your estate
- appoint a guardian for your minor children
What to include in your last will and testament?
When you create your last will and testament in Southlake, you’ll need to designate a few key individuals to carry out your wishes. These include:
- Executor or personal representative– This person will be responsible for managing your estate and ensuring that your last wishes are carried out. This could be a family member, friend, or professional.
- Beneficiaries– These are the people or organizations that you want to receive your property. You’ll need to list each beneficiary and what they will be receiving.
- Guardian– If you have minor children, you’ll need to appoint a guardian to care for them if something happens to you
You’ll also need to decide how you want your property to be distributed. You can leave specific items to specific people, or you can leave your entire estate to one person.
Once you’ve determined who will receive your property and how it will be distributed, you’ll need to have your last will witnessed and signed. This can be done in the presence of a notary public or two adult witnesses who are not beneficiaries of your estate.
While you’re not required to have an attorney draft your last will, it’s often a good idea to seek legal counsel to ensure that your document is properly executed and meets all state requirements.
Finally, you’ll need to store your last will in a safe place where it can be easily found after your death. You should give copies of your last will to your executor, beneficiaries, and any other key individuals.
Can I write a will without a lawyer?
In most cases, yes. You can usually find will kits at office supply stores. These kits come with basic instructions and fill-in-the-blank forms that you can use to create your own will.
If you have a simple estate—meaning you don’t own much property and don’t have any unusual beneficiary requests—a do-it-yourself will kit may be a good option.
But, if you have a more complicated estate or beneficiaries with special needs, it’s probably best to consult with an attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning and make sure your wishes are carried out according to your state’s laws.