The last will and testament is a major part of an estate plan and will ensure that the estate is settled according to your wishes. While there are other steps in estate planning, the will is the primary document to guide the process of settling an estate for most people.
You may use your will to express your sentiments toward loved ones and your hopes for their future, forgive debts, provide special instructions about care of minor children, form posthumous trusts, and to provide for your pets.
Wills usually require specific language, some of which may be determined by your State’s rules.
You should regularly review and revise your will when preferences or circumstances change.
Update your will as soon as possible for any of these events:
After a divorce most states will allow you to revoke your ex-spouse’s rights in your will; some states do so automatically.
The laws for making a last will and testament vary from state to state, but there are some basic requirements.
You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind; the age limit in certain states is lower if you’re legally married.
Depending on the state you live in, your will should be either typed or handwritten.
Some states allow oral (nuncupative) wills under certain circumstances.
Holographic wills, wills written in your handwriting but are not witnessed, are allowed in many states.
A few states allow videotaped records of the will signing to be used as a legal validation of the will.
A last will and testament is a legal document that is prepared while you are alive that describes how you want your assets to be handled after you’re gone.
You should include all the information needed to clearly identify, locate, and access all of your assets, including: