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What We Leave Behind: How to Write a Thoughtful and Effective Will

Writing your last will and testament is no easy task. It’s a stressful subject to think about, and there’s the pressure to get everything right so that your heirs don’t run into legal trouble when you’re gone. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to write an effective will.

Select Your Benefactors

First and foremost, you need to decide who will be your benefactors. The most common choices are children and spouses, but who you choose will depend on your specific situation. One thing that’s important to remember here is that if you plan to not give a spouse or child anything, you should note that in your will. If you simply leave them out, it may be assumed that you forgot them.

Divide All Your Assets

Next, you should list all your possessions, including money, investments and property. You’ll need to divide these assets among your benefactors. There are many ways to make this easier. For example, you could allocate a certain percentage of your money and investments to specific benefactors or allocate all the contents of a home to a benefactor. However, if you want anything specific to go to someone, make sure you stipulate that in your will.

Get Help from an Attorney

Although you can prepare your will on your own, any mistakes could lead to unnecessary expenses for your heirs. You’re much better off hiring an attorney to help you prepare your will properly, as there are many rules that the typical person writing a will won’t know about. A lawyer like Stokes Legal or someone similar can ensure that you choose appropriate witnesses and an executor. You could also have your attorney serve as the executor for a small fee (usually a percentage of your estate).

Consider Including a Personal Note

For the most part, a will is a formal, to-the-point document. You can slip in a few kind words or humorous statements here and there, but it’s not the place for much heartfelt writing. That’s why you may want to write a personal note that you attach to your will. Your note is where you can write whatever you want and include some final words for the people you care about.

Despite the inherent difficulty of writing a will, once it’s done, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ve gotten your affairs in order. With the steps above, you can have your will complete so you don’t need to worry about it anymore.

Author information: Kare Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. You can find Kara on Facebook and Twitter.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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