Tips for Making a First Draft of Your Will

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Monday, September 26, 2016.

Although an individual may have a general outline of the asset transfers he or she wishes to describe in a will, it is import to consult with an attorney to comply with applicable laws. An attorney can help an individual fulfill the procedures necessary to execute a valid will, in addition to providing guidance on other issues that a non-lawyer might not know to look for.

In general, a will has several sections, organized into articles and subsections. An introductory paragraph of the document may identify the testator by name and his or her domicile. It may also state whether the document revokes any prior wills and codicils.

The first article in a will states the testator’s martial status and any children, if applicable. A pretermitted heir provision also prevents any heirs not mentioned in the will from bringing a contested will challenge on the ground of an alleged oversight. This section may also name a guardian for minor children. Finally, the testator’s desires regarding memorial services can also be stated in the first article.

Article two of a will often describes gifts of property. For administrative ease, this section may reference a non-testamentary letter, in which the testator informally designates transfers of various personal property items to be made to specific people. This section also describes where the residue of the estate will be transferred, such as to a living revocable trust.

The third section of a will describes the appointment of fiduciaries to serve as executors of the estate. The testator can decide whether or not he wants to require a bond of the executor, as a security measure. Many testators waive that requirement because they trust their executors not to misappropriate funds of their estate.

Source: FindLaw, “Making a Will FAQs,” copyright 2016, Thomson Reuters


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