A last will and testament is a powerful tool that allows you to direct your assets to specific people or organizations after you pass away. In the absence of a will or other estate planning tool that provides for property to pass to specific parties, Missouri intestacy law will apply, which may or may not reflect your wishes.
Making a will is not as simple as jotting down a few notes about what you want to happen to your property. Here are a few of the things that you should consider before creating a will.
Determine Who to Include in Your Will
The first thing that you should consider when making a will are the parties who you would like to include in you will. For many people, this step is usually simple and often involves identifying a spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, or other family members. In some cases, people include a favorite charity or your alma mater in their will in addition to specific individuals.
Determine What to Include in Your Will
Next, you should determine which assets you should include in your will. A good starting point is to make a list of your assets that have substantial value and determining to whom you would like to leave them. It is important to keep in mind that certain assets that are jointly owned may pass directly to the other owner. Similarly, beneficiary bank accounts will also pass directly to the named beneficiary regardless of the terms of a will. Make sure you consider whether assets that you are considering including in your will could be passed through other means to avoid confusion.
Choose an Executor
Every will should name an executor, who is the person designated to carry out the terms of the will. Choose a responsible individual that you trust. Many people like to choose people with legal or financial expertise to serve as executor.
Consult with an Attorney
Creating an enforceable will requires compliance with significant formalities. For this reason, you should always speak to an attorney familiar with Missouri law when it comes time to actually create your will. Enlisting the assistance of an attorney will only make sure your will is valid and enforceable but also will ensure that you have included all of the terms that you wish to include.
Call a St. Louis Estate Planning Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you are considering creating a will or engaging in any other type of estate planning, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. To schedule a free consultation with St. Louis estate planning lawyer Kenneth P. Carp, call our office today at 636-947-3600 or send us an email through our online contact form.