North Charleston Will AttorneyNorth Charleston Will Attorney

A will is one of the most important legal documents that you should have. People often delay having a will prepared but once they do, they feel a great sense of relief. The thought of having a will prepared can be imposing. However, taken step-by-step with the help of a North Charleston will attorney, you can complete it with a minimum amount of time and effort.

What Is a Will and Why Do You Need One?

A will is a legal document that makes a disposition of your property when you pass away. It directs:

  • who should receive the property,
  • how it should be distributed, and
  • who should oversee the distribution.

It makes special provisions, if necessary, for certain conditions that you may desire to place on your bequests. The will names people who you desire to carry out your wishes.

What Should You Include in Your Will?

Your Burial Plans

Your will should contain any special burial plans that you desire. Often these plans have already been communicated to family members, but it does no harm to include this in the document. An individual may want to be cremated instead of buried and that can be stated in the document. If there is a particular place for your burial, this may often be included.

Who Should Receive Your Property

The heart of the will states who will receive your property. You should state if there are any particular items that you wish to give to a specific individual upon your death. For example, you may have promised your brother your coin collection. You should include that so that there is no doubt about what you desire. After any such special bequests, you state who will get the rest of your estate. If several people are to be recipients, you can specify their individual shares.

For anyone to whom you have made a bequest, you should state who should receive the bequest if the intended recipient has died before you do. You will name the recipients and what they are to receive. It can be done with a dollar amount, a percentage of your estate or in any manner that exactly states your wishes. When you sit down with your North Charleston will attorney, your thoughts can be placed in formal, legal form that will be understood by anyone reading your will in the future.

What If You Have Children?

If you have children, there are some additional considerations. You will not want to give your estate to children who are too young to be able to be responsible. You will want to place the assets in trust for the children. These assets will technically belong to the children, but someone else, a Trustee, will supervise the allotment of the asset to the beneficiary. There will be a stated time period and after that period has expired, the assets that remain in the trust will be distributed outright to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Your will names the desired Trustee as well as an alternate if your first choice is unable to serve.

Similarly, your will should name an Executor/Personal Representative and his or her alternate. The Executor/Personal Representative has the responsibility of making sure that your estate goes to those to whom you have designated. There is nothing preventing the Trustee and the Executor/Personal Representative from being the same individuals. You need to be confident that anyone who serves is trustworthy and has some common business sense. The will should specify, either precisely or in general terms, the duties of the Trustee and the Executor/Personal Representative. It is perfectly acceptable for more than one person to serve together in each of those roles. These people will be an important factor in the lives of your beneficiaries for years to come. You should choose them with great thought and care.

Who SHOULDN’T Receive Your Property

You may be in a situation where you want to make sure that a certain person does NOT receive anything after you die. There may be family members with whom you are not on the best of terms, but who still expect to receive something. You can have a very simple provision naming those who will not receive anything if there should be any doubt. Your North Charleston will attorney can use non-offensive wording to ensure that your precise wishes will be followed.

Other Considerations

Often a will states that one person gives everything to his or her spouse and then to the children if the spouse has died first. If you have young children, you need to consider the rare possibility that you all die together as a result of a common accident or disaster. As morbid as this sounds, your will should provide for who will receive your estate should this situation arise.

Your Will Should Reflect What YOU Want

Your will is a formal legal document often prepared by your North Charleston will attorney. However, it is a document that should reflect exactly what you desire. It can be customized to your wishes. Some people want to be cremated with their ashes spread at a location that is significant to them. You can make bequests to a person who is special to you even though he or she may not be a member of your family. You may also want to make a charity a recipient of your will. Or may want to make a provision for a family pet. Anything that is important to you is something that can be included in your will.

Make Sure That Your Will Is Official

All of the thought and hard work that it takes to make the right decisions can be spoiled if you do not sign the will properly. You should make sure that the required number of witnesses are present to actually see you sign your document. It is best that your signature and the signature of the witnesses be done before a notary public. Years later, if there is any question about your competence to sign the will, the witnesses need not be called upon to testify if their signatures were notarized. Witnesses may not be easily located given the passage of time. So notarized signatures will give you and your heirs peace of mind.

You should remember that anyone who is to receive anything by the terms of your will should never be a witness or the notary. If you do not follow this rule precisely, the entire will may be invalidated and everything may be thrown into court. Your North Charleston will attorney will make sure that the document is properly executed. However, there may be circumstances where your attorney prepares the will, but you may not be able to execute it in his or her office. For example, sometimes the will must be executed by someone who is disabled or immobile. In situations such as this, your will attorney will take extra care to make sure that the document is executed correctly.

An Experienced North Charleston Will Attorney Can Help

Many people delay the preparation of their will. However, once you begin, your North Charleston will attorney can guide you through all of the many considerations that are necessary. With an experienced attorney, you can put everything into focus and have a document that entirely expresses your desires. Contact Steadman Law Firm, P.A. today at 843-790-0027.