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  • Northern Virginia Trusts & Estates

5 tips for creating a great last will and testament

Updated: May 22

When it comes time to create a last will and testament, you will most likely have many things you want to say and accomplish, especially as it related to your family and your assets. But when you actually begin to put those thoughts onto paper, you may feel like you are forgetting something. In fact, this is something that many people worry about – the details of their will and not having things well thought out and planned in advance.

What should you be focusing on while creating your last will and testament? The following is a good place to start.

5 tips for creating a great last will and testament

  1. Make a comprehensive list of all of your assets. This should include both physical assets like your homes as well as money and investments.

  2. List all of your beneficiaries. These people will receive something from you after you pass on. You may wish to list who will get what, but at this point, it is a good first step to just know who you want to honor through your will.

  3. Who will be your executor? This is the person who will execute your will after you die. This person should be someone that you trust to do a good job, a job that is reflected as what you wish to happen (rather than his or her wishes.)

  4. Consider your needs for doing more than just planning a will. In many cases, you may want to do more than just list your assets. You may wish to protect those assets. Discuss options for creating a living trust.

  5. Consider what you should not put into your will. A will is a good place to leave behind assets, but it is not the only option for telling your story. Use a living will to discuss what you want and why you want it in full. Keep in mind that you do need to ensure all of your wishes are clearly stated in a legally binding way, according to estate planning laws.

For many people, the last will and testament is one of the most important ways to ensure that after they die, there is some type of organization and management about their assets. Realize that you should have an attorney with extensive estate planning experience construct your will for you. This is the best way to ensure that your will is going to be legally binding after your death and therefore your goals and needs will be met as a direct result.

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