Creating a will is a critical aspect of estate planning. This legal document allows you to express your wishes about the distribution of your assets and the care of your loved ones after you die.
Having a legal will in Virginia can help ensure that your heirs will honor your wishes and manage your estate based on your preferences.
Determine your assets and beneficiaries
Before drafting your will, take stock of your assets. These can include property, bank accounts, investments, personal belongings and other items of value. You also need to identify the beneficiaries, individuals or organizations you want to inherit your assets.
A well-drafted will can minimize potential conflicts among family members. By clearly stating your intentions and providing instructions for asset distribution, you reduce the likelihood of legal disagreements.
For unmarried couples, a will is important so that your partner receives your assets and property upon your passing. Without a will, the state may not recognize your partner as a beneficiary.
Choose an executor
In your will, you can name an executor, also known as a personal representative, to manage your estate after your passing. Your executor carries out the instructions outlined in your will, including distributing assets to beneficiaries and settling your debts.
Name a guardian for minor children
If you have minor children, a will allows you to name a guardian who will be responsible for their care in the event of your passing. This step ensures someone you have chosen and trust will raise your children if you cannot.
Despite the importance of estate planning, less than half of Americans have a will. In this case, state laws determine the distribution of your assets and other aspects of your estate. Creating a will allows you to retain control of these important decisions rather than leaving them up to the court.