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    The importance of a will can’t be understated. A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of assets and guardianship of your minor children when you pass. It gives clear direction of what will be distributed, like property, and who receives it. If you do not have a will when the time comes, then your family may have a challenging time in probate court. Trying to decide who gets what once you pass with no clear direction can lead to tricky situations, especially once the court must make final decisions without your input. 

    Luckily, this can be avoided with the creation of a will! Not only will it be clear and decisive, but it will also avoid any additional time, money, and energy spent settling affairs. Thinking this far ahead, especially if you are young, may feel like overkill. However, preparing in advance ensures you don’t have to worry about it later when you are juggling health problems as well. Having a will can help provide some comfort for family and friends when the time comes who will feel secure knowing they are following your wishes. 

    Why a Will is Important to Have 

    Creating a will is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it ensures that your wishes are carried out after you pass away. Without a will, your assets and property will be distributed according to state law, which may not align with your wishes. Additionally, a will can help to avoid disputes among family members over the distribution of assets. Finally, a will can provide for your minor children by appointing a guardian to care for them after your death. Many people avoid estate planning because they believe wills are expensive. Although this may be true if you enlist an attorney with hourly fees, you can also write your own wills with minimal professional help for a fraction of the cost. 

    While it’s possible to try and draft a will yourself from scratch, xv cxzz you may accidentally make significant errors, so asking for help from a trained professional like a legal document assistant can offer peace of mind. Having a professional draft legal documents for you will ensure that no errors are made. 

    Checklist for How to Create a Will 

    Creating a will may seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it can be a straightforward process. Below is a checklist to help you create your own will:  

    1. Take inventory of your assets: Before creating your will, make a list of all your assets and property, including bank accounts, real estate, investments, and personal belongings. 
    2. Choose an executor: An executor is the person responsible for managing your estate after your death. Choose someone you trust to carry out your wishes. 
    3. Choose a guardian for your minor children: If you have minor children, you will want to appoint a guardian to care for them after your death. 
    4. Decide how you want your assets to be distributed: You can specify how you want your assets to be distributed among your heirs, or you can leave a percentage of your estate to charity. 
    5. Consult with an attorney: If you’re ever unsure how one of your assets should be worked into your will, an attorney may be able to help guide you. This optional step is especially beneficial for those who own a business, own multiple homes, or other significant assets. 
    6. Sign your will: Once your will is complete, sign it in the presence of witnesses who are not beneficiaries. 
    7. Store your will in a safe place: Keep your will in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box. 

    Frequently Asked Questions: 

    Many people believe that you need to enlist the help of an attorney to create a will. This is not true! A legal document assistant (LDA) can prepare a will at your direction for a fraction of the price.

    If you pass without a will, your assets and property will be distributed according to state law. This means that your assets may not be distributed according to your wishes. Additionally, if you have minor children, a court will appoint a guardian for them, rather than someone you have chosen.

    Yes, you can change your will at any time. You can make changes by creating a new will, or by amending your existing will.

    It is recommended that you review and update your will every 3-5 years, or whenever there is a significant change in your life, such as a marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child. Updating your will ensures that your wishes are current and reflective of your current circumstances.

    If you have any questions about how to create a will, contact us today or call (909) 497-1349 to schedule your next appointment with our team of professional LDAs!