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  • Northern Virginia Trusts & Estates

What Do I Need to Create a Will?

One question few people ever ask themselves is this: “How do I create a will?”  It’s a very good question, and it’s one that people really should ask themselves.  Even if you’re still fairly young and healthy, you never know what may happen.  If you die intestate, your family can end up dealing with the courts and other legal systems for years.  To ensure that your last wishes are carried out, it is important that everyone create a will.  But what do you need to create this important legal document?

You start out a will with a declaration: “This is the last will and testament of (name) who resides at (address).”  This states that you are creating the will and that it is to be used as a guide to your final wishes.

You must next appoint an executor.  This is the person who will be in charge of seeing that your will is executed as you desire.  They will administer all of the transfer of property and see to it that all appropriate parties are notified of your death.

Next, you’re going to need to outline all of your property and how you want it divided among your heirs.  You can name specific assets and give them to specific beneficiaries.  You can also declare that “all remaining property and assets are to go to (beneficiary)” so that you do not have to specify the division of everything you own.

If you have children under 18, your last will and testament must name a guardian.  It also needs to outline what happens if a minor inherits property.  Your children’s guardian must be at least 18 years old.

Finally, to make your last will legal you must sign it in front of witnesses and in the presence of a notary public.  Both the witnesses and notary public will have to sign the will.  If any signatures are missing, the will is not legally binding.

It is prudent to consult with an estate attorney to make sure that all you wishes and decisions are legal and complete.

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