The best time to write your will was the day you turned 18. Since most teenagers aren’t thinking about their mortality on their 18thbirthday, however, chances are you weren’t, either. Thankfully, the second best time to write your will is today.

By making arrangements long before you actually need them, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your family is protected in all eventualities. Since the foundation of every comprehensive estate plan is a last will and testament, drafting this document is a great place to start. Here are a few tips on proceeding:

1. Do Include Alternates

If you name an executor, health care proxy, and/or power-of-attorney in your will, it’s wise to include alternates. There’s always a chance that the parties you include will be unwilling or unable to step up should the time come. In such a scenario, the court would have to assign the role to someone else, and it might not necessarily be the person you would have chosen.

2. Don’t Let Minutiae Slow You Down

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when drafting your will. How do you distill your entire life and legacy into the terms of a single document?

While there is undoubtedly a lot to address, it’s best to start with the biggest issues first. Examples include things like asset distribution and guardianship of any minor children. As long as your will addresses 90 percent of the issues at hand, you’ll have peace of mind. What’s more, you can go back and add additional terms later, once you’ve tackled all the most important elements of the estate.

3. Do Ensure the Terms Are Legally Binding

For a will to be legally binding in Michigan, it must be in writing, signed by the testator (or at the testator’s direction), and signed by at least two witnesses. Just because you ensure all of the above, however, doesn’t mean the court will abide by the terms you included.

When it comes to estate planning, there are certain things you simply cannot do within the confines of a will. For example, you cannot leave money to your pets.

The easiest way to confirm everything you’ve included in the document will be honored is by consulting a local attorney. After discussing your wishes, a lawyer will help you draft your will and then implement any additional arrangements needed to ensure the court will honor everything.

4. Don’t Forget to Review It Periodically

Once you’ve finished writing your will, make a note to pull it out from time to time and review it. Since your circumstances will likely change over time, you’ll probably want to modify some of the terms in your will, as well.

Call 231-946-0700 for a Free Consultation with a Michigan Estate Planning Attorney

When you’re ready to write your last will, turn to the knowledgeable team at Smith & Johnson. We can help you draft a comprehensive document that will ensure your loved ones are taken care of even after you’re gone. Call 231-946-0700 or complete the Contact Form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Michigan.