People today are often under the common misconception that you must hire a lawyer or have significant experience or knowledge of the law in order to legally make your Will. This is an unfortunate misconception in that it makes people hesitate when it comes to creating their Will, and often these are the very people who need the Will the most. You would feel awful if your new wife was left with nothing while your “X" walked away with what you intended for her, your kids, or someone else! You need to protect yourself and those you love!
Creating a Will is much easier than and not as scary as people often seem to think. Here are a few guidelines to follow when thinking about you will.
- To qualify as a legal Will, it must appear to the court by looking only at the document itself that you intended this document to be the final expression of your wishes as to the distribution of your property to take effect upon your death.
- To the court, when you creating a Will is most important that you, as the Will maker, must have “testamentary capacity". This is essentially under law in most states requiring that you were of “sound mind" when you created the Will.
- If your Will is typed, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who must sign in the presence of you and each other. In a nutshell, the parties affirm that all of them are within sight of each other, that you are of sound mind, know what you are signing is your Will, and have asked the witnesses to so attest.
- If a Will is thrown out, the estate is handled as if there had never been a Will to begin with.
- "Codicils" are amendments made to an earlier, already existing Will. However, no written additions or changes should ever be made on the original document. Instead, a separate page should be prepared, referring specifically to the original Will, and executed with the same formalities required of a Will in your state.
- If the desired changes are at all complicated, subject to more than one interpretation, or potentially in conflict with other provisions of the Will, it is really better to just start from scratch and do another Will. Remember to destroy the old one to avoid any confusion!
I have heard so many horror stories from people about how their significant other kept putting off creating their Will until it was too late, and now their family is left to pay! The biggest reason for this procrastination is really just not knowing what is expected of a Will and pervasive misconceptions of what is actually needed. Keep the suggestions that I have made above in mind while writing, and you will have and effective and legal Fathers Rights Will!
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