Basic Things to Know about Writing a Will
A last will and testament is the most basic estate planning tool you can use to pass down your assets to your loved ones or charities of your choosing. If you have not yet begun the process of creating your own will, below are just a few things you should know before you get started:
- Hire an attorney: There are options for “do it yourself” wills online, but only by working with legal counsel can you be completely certain your will avoids potential loopholes or challenges to its validity after your death. Experienced estate planning lawyers can create a will for you that meets all your specific needs, rather than giving you a cookie-cutter solution.
- Witnesses: In Florida, for your will to be considered valid, it must have been signed in the presence of at least two witnesses who also sign as witnesses. Select witnesses who are not beneficiaries in your will.
- Separate wills: You and your spouse should each have separate wills so that you can ensure you manage your separate property appropriately. There is a good chance your wills will look very similar, but it is good practice to have separate wills because it’s extremely unlikely you will pass away at the same time.
- Think about your personal representative: Your personal representative will be tasked with carrying out the wishes you outlined in your will. Most people select a trusted friend or relative, but you can also choose a financial advisor or other professional. Whoever it is, make sure that person is willing to take on the role before you write him or her into your will, and that the person is capable of handling all the tasks associated with the role. This individual should be organized, responsible and capable of handling any potential arguments.
These are just a few issues to think about before you begin writing your will. For more information and guidance, consult an experienced Tampa estate planning attorney with BaumannKangas Estate Law.