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"Steps and Tips in Making Your Last Will And Testament
(Is a standard simple Last Will And Testament right for you?)"



Section 7: "Steps and Tips in Making Your Last Will And Testament (Is a standard simple Last Will And Testament right for you?)"

Step 1: Decide what you want.

I know that this sounds silly, but I have actually had clients come to my office and ask me to tell them who they should give their property. There are really three areas that you must consider:

First, to whom do you want to leave your property - your spouse, your children, your family, a friend, or perhaps a charitable organization? Who do you want to receive your property if your first choice dies before you?

Second, who do you want to wind up your affairs and see that your beneficiaries receive the property you want them to have? This is the Executor, also called the Personal Representative and/or Administrator.

Third, if you have minor children, who do you want to have custody of them if you die? Remember that this is the Testamentary Guardian and is the person who makes all of the decisions for your child's well being, education, and medical decisions. Who do you want to take care of the property that you leave to your children? This is the Trustee and is the person who manages the money and property that you leave to your children. Finally, do you want your children to receive the property that you leave to them on their 18th or 21st birthday? Money and property that is held in Trust for your minor children must be turned over to them at some time. What age do you want them to receive it?

Step 2: Decide if a standard simple Will is going to meet your needs.

Most likely, the answer is YES, a standard simple Will is going to work for you IF:

a. You are married, you want all of your property to pass to your spouse upon your death, and, if your spouse dies before you, you want all of your property to pass to your children.

b. You are married, you want all of your property to pass to your spouse upon your death, and, if your spouse dies before you, you want all of your property to pass to someone else without conditions.

c. You are single and want all of your property to pass to your children.

d. You are single and want all of your property to pass to someone else without conditions.

Most likely, the answer is NO, a standard simple Will is not going to work for you IF:

a. You want different people to receive different properties after you die. For example, you are divorced and you want some of your property to pass to your current spouse and some of your property to pass to your children.

b. You want to place conditions on the gifts that you want to make in your Will.

c. You want to set up several trust for different people or for unique purposes.

As you can see, the first group above are fairly straightforward while the second group tend to be more complicated. With the first group, your life insurance, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and real estate are more likely to pass under state laws to the same person(s) you name in your Will. With the second group, your life insurance, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and real estate are more likely to pass under state laws to a different person(s) than you name in your Will. Again, if you have any questions, you need to consult a lawyer licensed in your state.

Step 3: Make your Will.

If a standard simple Will is going to meet your needs and you want to do it yourself, then use a Will form that you can get from us or a Will form that you can get from some other source. Simply follow the instructions on (1) completing the Will and (2) on how to sign and have witnessed your Will.

If a standard simple Will is not going to meet your needs, call a lawyer licensed in your state. If you call a lawyer, call several, tell them roughly what you need, and ask them how much they charge for a Will. With this information, chose the lawyer that you think will be best for you.

This ebook is for general information only and may not be applicable to your situation. Talk with a lawyer licensed in your state.

Because we rely on contribtions and donations, if this material helps you, please make a contribution or donation to this site.

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