Making a will is something that everyone should consider if they have assets or if they have people depending upon them. Many people mistakenly think that creating a will is something they can wait to do until they get old. Tragically, this is not always the case. A sudden and unexpected death could occur at any time. If you are younger when you pass away unexpectedly, it may be even more important to have a will in place so you can provide for the care of your minor children.
When you create a last will and testament, you want to makes sure that the will is going to actually be enforced when you pass away so your wishes for your assets and heirs are respected. You also want to ensure that the will is going to be complete and comprehensive, and that it will accomplish your goals for your legacy.
In many situations, while a will is an important component of your estate plan, there are also other legal tools that you need to use to achieve your goals. You should ensure you get proper legal advice both when making a will and when creating a detailed plan for your future and for life after you are gone. A Rutland wills and trusts lawyer at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide invaluable assistance with the creation of your will and with other aspects of your estate planning process.
Steps to Take in Making a Will
The first step to creating a will is to define what you want your will to accomplish. Generally, a will is used to specify who assets will be transferred to. However, you may find yourself facing problems as you create your will because you may be worried that heirs will waste the money you leave them or because you may have a disabled relative who could lose access to means-tested government benefits if you give him an inheritance. You may also be concerned if you have minor children, because while a will can allow you to name their guardian, it doesn’t necessarily let you make detailed provisions to provide financially for your child if you are gone.
An estate planning attorney can help you to determine what your goals are for the creation of a will, as well as what your overall desires are for leaving a legacy behind. Your attorney will then assist you with using all the legal tools you need, including a will, to achieve your plans.
Once you have decided what you want your will to accomplish, you can move on to the next steps of creating a will. This can involve selecting an executor, making a detailed list of the assets to transfer in your will, and thinking about who will receive each asset. You need to know what you want to put in your will before you can create it.
After this pre-planning phase, you’ll have to go through the formal requirements for the creation of a legally valid last will and testament. Vermont.gov explains requirements for making a will. In order for a will to be legally valid:
- The person who is making the will, called the testator, must be at least 18 years old at the time the will is made.
- The testator must be of sound mind at the time he or she creates the will.
- The will must be in writing.
- The will has to be signed by the testator. If the testator cannot or does not wish to sign his name, someone else must write the testator’s name at the testator’s express direction and in the testator’s presence.
- At least two credible witnesses have to watch the testator sign the will. The witnesses have to be in the presence of the testator at the time of signing. The witnesses must then sign their own names as the testator is present and watching.
Wills may be deposited with the Register of the Probate Division of the Superior Court in the county where the testator lives. There is a small fee for depositing the will with the Register, but it ensures that the will is kept in a safe location and that the will can be found at the time of death.
How a Rutland Estate PlanningLawyer Can Help With Making a Will
To learn more about making your will, join us for a free seminar or contact us to get personalized advice that is tailored to your situation. You can give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online today so we can get started on protecting your future.