How to Create a Will
Writing your Will can be a daunting process. It can seem like a frightening and immense organizational task. However, if you don't address end of life issues such as the writing of a will, the government – and not yourself, your family, or your trusted friends – will determine what happens to your property after your death. Usually, the state will leave your property to your closest family such as your spouse or children. If no close relatives can be found, however, and you haven't left a will, the state will take your property. Not only that; the state will decide social issues as well. For instance, if you are a single parent and do not leave a will, the government will decide who will raise your children. Another example would be rights for the surviving partner of an unmarried same-sex couple.
When creating your Will, remember a few important steps. Decide what parts of your property will be inherited by who. If you have children, decide who will be their guardian and manage any property they might have or gain. Choose an executor for your will and go over your wishes with that person. Sign and date the will, and have two qualifying witnesses sign and date the will. Store the document someplace safe and secure, and accessible to the executor of the will.
In the U.S., some states allow what is called a "holographic will." This is a handwritten and unwitnessed will. Bear in mind that even in the states that allow such wills as legal documents, the holographic will must be written and signed by the person whose will it is. Some of these states additionally require that the document be signed. Having a holographic will is better than having no will at all, but having a witnessed will is definitely preferable. Signed, legal wills will be executed much more swiftly and exactly, whereas holographic wills spend a good deal of time in probate court, where judges will scrutinize the document to establish its legitimacy. Holographic wills can tend to be ambiguous since most people lack the knowledge of legal jargon the judicial system speaks in. When these wills are scrutinized in court, your instructions and desires can easily be misinterpreted so that your wishes are not strictly followed.
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