3 FAQs About Writing a Last Will & Testament

A last will and testament is the foundation of every comprehensive estate plan. Often referred to as just a “will,” this document includes legally binding terms that dictate how the estate should be settled upon the testator’s death.

Considering your own mortality is never easy, but at the very least, you should draft a will. This will allow you to protect your loved ones in all eventualities. It will also ensure your wishes are honored after you pass.

If you’re unsure how to get started, read on. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject:


1. What Can You Include in a Last Will & Testament?

For many people, a last will and testament is the only document they need to ensure their affairs will be in order upon their death. This is why drafting one is the best place to start when it comes to estate planning. In a will, you can:

  • Name an executor,
  • Appoint a guardian for any minor children, and
  • Distribute assets and personal property to beneficiaries.

If you choose to write your own will, it’s wise to run it by an attorney once you’re done to ensure its terms are legally binding. The document is also going to have to meet certain requirements before it’s considered valid. In Michigan, for example, a will must be signed by the testator (or by someone at his or her discretion and in his or her conscious presence) and by two other witnesses.

2. Who Can Write a Will?

In the state of Michigan, anyone who is at least 18 years old and of sufficient mental capacity can—and should—write a will. It’s worth noting that in some states, like Georgia, individuals as young as 14 can draft a will.

Since life is utterly unpredictable, it’s advisable for every adult of sound mind to create a will. If you do take a proactive approach to estate planning, however, it’s important to review your documents periodically and update them as needed. After all, your circumstances will inevitably change over time.

3. How Often Can You Update Your Will?

You can update your will as often as needed. Estate planning attorneys generally advise clients to review and update their documents every four to five years. It’s also wise to evaluate the terms of your will after every major life event or change in circumstances. Examples include getting married, starting a business, having children, receiving an inheritance, acquiring a sizable asset, and getting divorced.

Call 231-946-0700 to Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney in Michigan

At Smith & Johnson, you’ll find a seasoned team of estate and trust attorneys who are equipped to help clients prepare for all eventualities. From wealth transfers and business succession planning to guardianship and special needs planning, we do it all. To schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Michigan, call 231-946-0700 or submit our Contact Form.