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How to Prepare a Will

You should prepare a will to ensure that your assets are divided among family, friends and charities according to your intentions. If you want to rest assured that your will is in perfect legal order, you should have your will drawn up by a qualified attorney. Specific regulations for wills do vary from state to state.

Do not put off writing a will until you are older. Life is too unpredictable to wait until later. If you are married with children you should sit down and have a serious talk with your spouse about who you would entrust with the children if you would both pass away before they reached 18,. You should have a guardianship provision with your will for the well being of your child or children. Consult with an attorney in your area for specific instructions on how to name a guardian. If you are a single parent with children who do not see their other parent, you will need to name a guardian on your own.

Determine who you want to leave money and other valuable to in your will. Consider your spouse, children and other close relatives. Decide if you have any close friends to whom you want to leave money or other assets. Write down any of your favorite charities to which you intend to leave money or other items from your estate.

Take inventory of your current monetary worth. You can write down a specific amount of money you want to leave to those who will inherit money. If you do not know how much money you will be worth upon your death, you can leave people in your will a percentage of your estate. Evaluate any valuable assets you own aside from money and financial accounts. Write a list of stocks and bonds, valuable jewelry, antique furniture, artwork and any other items of value that you currently own. Make a decision as to who will get each of your items. You can divide your valuables however you want. For example you can leave a relative with all of your artwork. On the other hand, you can divide your artwork among several different people.

Compose your will on the computer. If you are writing a draft of a will to provide to your lawyer, the will can be informal. Write down your assets and how they will be divided among the people and/or organizations listed in your will. Sign your will if you are not taking the will to an attorney for official preparation. The number of people you need to witness the signing of your will can be different in each state. Consult with an attorney for the steps to make a will valid in your state. Keep you will in a safe place such as a lockbox. Make certain that someone you trust knows where you keep the will.

If your lawyer will be drawing up your will, take all the information you have written down to his or her office. Your attorney will ask you more questions in order to ensure that your wishes are clearly stated in your will. You will need to sign the will upon it’s completion by your attorney’s office. Typically, your lawyer will retain a copy of your will in their files. You will also take a copy of your will to your own home. Once again, find a safe location to store your will.

You can and should update your will every few years as your family grows. You can take another look at your assets so that you can make changes as your assets increase or decline. Make certain you always have a legally binding contract on file.

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