Writing a will is something we often put off and don’t want to think about until we get older.? How do you know you will live to be 40, 50, or 60 years old? The fact is you should write a will now, even if you are young; a will can be changed at a future date if necessary.? One question many people in Michigan have is how to write a will. The information below will hopefully enlighten you and help make it easier to take care of this vital step to ensure your family’s future upon your passing.
You don’t necessarily need a lawyer to write a will, especially if your situation isn’t too complicated.? For instance, you may not have a lot of property, financial holdings, investments, etc. You can write a straightforward, simple will yourself whether by writing it out on paper, typing it out, or using one of the many templates and tools found on the internet.? At its most basic a will is a legal document that ensures your wishes are carried out following your death in regards to property distribution, care of minor children, and asset division.??
When writing your will you want to make sure wishes are clearly stated regarding property and asset distribution.? If you have children you must specify who will take guardianship. You may also want to outline how any taxes or unpaid debts will be paid.? A will can also provide for any pets you may have, although you cannot leave property to a pet.??
In Michigan there are certain things you must do to ensure your will is valid.? Your will should leave no doubt that you are the testator (person who wrote the will) in order to make sure it cannot be contested in a lawsuit.? It must be signed by you and two other people who are “witnesses,” two parties who are disinterested or in other words not beneficiaries of your will.? Any person who is 18 years or older and is competent (of sound mind) can write a will.
In writing your will you may also want to include any donations to charities or specific people, names of alternate beneficiaries in the event a primary beneficiary passes before you do, directions for distributing personal assets or assigning business assets, or even canceling any debts owed to you by others.??
If you have written any wills prior to the one you are currently writing, you should add a statement that revokes those wills.? Additionally you may want to appoint an executor of your estate. While these steps are not mandatory, it often makes things simpler for the probate court and helps ensure your wishes are honored.
If you pass before you have executed a will your wishes may not be carried out; it may all be left up to the probate court judge to decide how your assets are distributed and who will serve as executor.? Ultimately, it could end with your family and loved ones in a state of uncertainty, burdened further with contention and disagreements.
There are circumstances in which writing your own will can be difficult.? Even when it seems simple enough, many choose to have an attorney review their will to ensure all of the T’s are crossed and the I’s dotted.? When should you consult a lawyer?
Each person’s situation is different.? You may have remarried, or have millions of dollars in assets.? Perhaps you have assets in several other states, or even in another country.? If you have a child or other beneficiary who is disabled or otherwise incapacitated and are concerned about long-term care arrangements, you will want to consult with an attorney.??
There are other circumstances in which you may want to have a professional help you write your will.? Maybe you are in a same-sex marriage or relationship, or want to leave assets to your spouse that will pass on to your children from a prior marriage or relationship following your spouse’s death.? Your situation may be far more complicated than you realized once you begin to draft your will.
Should you decide you need help writing your will, consult with an experienced attorney.? You will have peace of mind knowing your wishes will be carried out upon your death, and your family protected.
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