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The Ultimate Testament Guide: 6 Important Things To Know

The testament is a legal document that tells the story of your life. It’s important to make sure you tell it right, or else it could affect any wills and testament in your estate. In this article you learn the 6 essential things to know when writing a testament, making sure you’re prepared for whatever comes next!

Be specific about what you want to happen to your property

You have to be specific when writing your testament. Having specific instructions on your Last Will and Testament will ensure that your wishes for the distribution of your property uроn death will be followed. If you are not specific, the court will be in charge, which is not something you want. This can be inconvenient for family members or friends who may have been expecting something different from what ends up happening after a testament is written. The best way to avoid this issue is by being very clear about what should happen with each item of property in order to make it easier for people trying to sort out their inheritance later on down the road.

 

For example: “I leave my house and all its contents to my son Alejandro” makes things pretty straightforward while still allowing Alejandro some room if he wants or needs it (he could sell his father’s furniture but keep the TV).

It must be signed by the testator and two witnesses

Your will has to be signed by the testator and two witnesses in order to be a valid testament. It is defined as “a legal document that states what you would like done with your assets after death,” which means it needs to have everyone agree on what they want before they pass away so there are no disagreements among the family members upon their passing. 

When writing a will, make sure everything you write about is exactly how you feel at that moment because once it’s been signed by both parties then there won’t be any changes allowed nor alterations unless stated in the testament itself.

If there isn’t anyone willing or able to sign for either party when creating a testament then an official has to do this instead but only if asked otherwise said official must respect each party’s decision to take the testament or not.

Name an executor you trust

Think hard before naming an executor and avoid naming a family member or someone who will receive an inheritance. Make sure the person you name is willing to become your testament’s executor, understands what the role entails, and has time for this job.

The importance of choosing an honest, responsible individual as testament executor cannot be stressed enough: if you don’t choose carefully (and sometimes even when you do), problems can arise both during your life and after it ends. So before deciding on someone to take care of this important task, ask yourself these questions: 

 

  • Is this person always available? If not, how often does he/she go away, and for how long?
  • Can you trust that he/she will execute my testament in case they are absent from home?
  • Does this person have a criminal record or any history of financial mismanagement, forgery, etc.? 
  • Can you trust them with handling my testament and all its consequences?
  • Do you know him/her well enough to be absolutely sure they will follow the testament’s instructions without fail?

Include a list of all assets and debts

A list of all your assets and debts is essential when writing a testament. If you have family members, it’s important to provide for their care in case of your death. With a testament, you can specify who will receive the assets after your passing as well as if they should be given over immediately or held until certain criteria are met (i.e., someone reaching a particular age). 

Additionally, with debts factored into this equation, there could possibly be an issue where part of the inheritance must go toward paying off these outstanding balances before anything else can happen with that money. Listing all assets and debts helps make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Name a guardian for any minor children 

If you have minor children, it is absolutely necessary to name a guardian in your testament. This will ensure that the person you choose can take care of your children if something happens to both parents or even only one parent, depending on the circumstances. If there are no other living relatives who could serve as guardians for minor children, courts will appoint a legal guardian from the list of names you provide.

Sign and date the document after it’s complete

Once you’re done, you have to sign and date the testament. If you don’t, there’s no proof that you wrote it without help from someone else or after a certain amount of time. This can make it null and void, which means you have to start over. Signing proves that the testament is yours in case something happens to the testament before it’s given to the executor.

 

Writing a will isn’t easy but if you know what has to be done, it’s much simpler. Make sure everyone is clear about your assets and property and make a list of what you have and/or owe. Also, it’s crucial to name guardians for minor children and have the date and the document signed by everyone who needs to do it. Finally, make sure your executor is trustworthy!

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