Creating a will is a very important part of planning for the future. A will can make sure that your family is taken care of after you are gone, and that your wishes are followed with regard to your estate. Here are 8 tips for creating a will in North Carolina
1.Consult an Estate Planning Attorney
A last will and testament is a legal document, and to be valid, it must meet certain criteria. While some websites claim to have do-it-yourself forms that you can fill out to create a will, you will never know if you’ve done it correctly or if it will stand up in court unless you consult an estate planning attorney with the experience and knowledge necessary to create valid estate documents.
2.Choose an Executor You Trust
The executor of your estate should be someone you trust who will have the ability and the willingness to go through the detailed and sometimes tedious process of administering an estate. Not everyone is good with facts and figures or paperwork, and you should choose an executor who is good at these things, even if it means hurting someone else’s feelings.
3. Make Sure your Beneficiaries List is Up-to-date.
Over time, relationships change, people pass away, and circumstances shift. Make sure that the beneficiaries that are listed in your will are your current choices and that changes are made if your wishes change.
4.Really Think About Who Gets What
When you specify the distribution of your assets, it is easy to use the generic boilerplate language that says that all assets will be equally divided among your beneficiaries, but this may not always be right for your situation. You may think that using this language will avoid conflict among your descendants, but sometimes the opposite can happen. If you leave the house that one child has been living in and maintaining for 20 years to his siblings in equal shares, for example, that may stir up trouble. Give some thought to what makes sense for each of your beneficiaries.
5.Attach a Personal Letter
The language of a last will and testament can get pretty legalistic and impersonal. It is possible to attach a letter to your will in which you can say goodbye in a more personal way, and also clarify your final wishes in more detail.
6. Keep Your Will in a Safe Place and Make Sure Your Loved Ones Know Where to Find It
It can be a good idea to store the original copy of your will in a safe place such as a fire safe or a safety deposit box. Make other, unofficial copies, and either give them to your loved ones, or make sure that they know where to find them. Your executor definitely needs a copy, as well.
7.Review and Update Your Will Every Few Years
Circumstances, relationships, and thoughts can change over time. If you created a will many years ago, it may no longer reflect your wishes or accurately represent your circumstances. Sometimes, financial institutions will have trouble with a will they consider “Stale,” as they know that little remains the same over the course of the years. Update your will regularly to be sure it is both accurate and valid.
8.Consider Adding Other Estate Planning Documents
A will is a very important document, and it is great to have one. Other documents, however, are also necessary to have an estate plan that is truly complete. Once you have your will done, think about adding a durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, advance healthcare directive, and HIPAA authorization to your estate plan. All of these documents can give you the peace of mind of knowing that if anything should happen to you, both you and your loved ones will be taken care of, and your wishes will be carried out.