Writing a will is a key part of effective estate planning. Your last will and testament, commonly known simply as a “will”, is the document that states the beneficiaries for each of your assets and names an executor for your estate, with beneficiaries being the individuals who inherit parts of the state or who benefit from a trust, and the executor being the individual who ensures that the plans you write into your will are carried out accordingly.
It is never too soon to write your will. If you’re not sure how to get started with your will, talk to an elder law attorney in Tacoma to get a better sense of the process and what it entails. Here a few important steps to follow to write an effective will:
Name All of your Assets as Clearly as Possible
The more detail you provide about your assets and their intended beneficiaries, the more effective your will is when your estate enters the probate process. It is important to name all of the assets you want to leave to beneficiaries in your will and be as specific as possible about them so there is no confusion about which assets you are referring to.
Name the Beneficiaries who Will Receive these Assets
You can choose to leave all of your assets to one individual, like your spouse, or you can choose to leave your assets to multiple beneficiaries. In your will, be clear about the assets each beneficiary receives and whether or not the assets are to be tied to a trust.
Choose a Responsible Executor
An executor’s job is to close a will. This can be a complex task. Some individuals choose to avoid creating family rifts by appointing their lawyers as their wills’ executors. Whether you appoint your lawyer or a family member as your will’s executor is a personal choice, but the most important thing is that you choose somebody you can trust to respect your wishes.
Name a Guardian for your Minor Children
If you have one or more minor children when you write your will, include the names of the individuals who are to become their guardians in the event of your death in the will. Choose multiple potential guardians and list them in order of your preference, because there is the chance that in the event of your death, your first choice of guardian will not be able to take your children in.
Notarize your Will
In Washington state, you are not required to have your will notarized for it to be legally enforceable. But having it notarized is a good idea because it gives your will an additional layer of protection against disputes from loved ones after you pass away. You do, however, need two witnesses to sign your will in order to make it valid.
Be Proactive and Plan for the Future with a Tacoma Estate Planning Lawyer
At Alliance Law Group, PS, we are here to help you make productive choices for your estate’s future. Whether you already have estate plans in place and simply need to update your existing will or you need to create a new will from scratch, our team of experienced estate planning lawyers is here for you. Contact our office today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.