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How to Write a Will

Last Will and TestamentEvery adult should have a will. Even if you are young, single and have few assets, having a will can help ensure that, should you die prematurely, you’ll still have some control over what happens to you and your property.

Fortunately, writing a will can be fairly simple. Here are the elements you need to include:

1. A Title — Typically, “Last Will and Testament,” plus your full legal name.

2. Declaration — Declare this is your last will and testament, one that supersedes (replaces) any previous wills, that you’re of legal age, and of sound mind and memory.

3. Name an Executor — The “executor” is the person assigned to ensure your written wishes are fulfilled. If you’re married, this can be your spouse, or you can name a close relative or friend.

4. Name a Guardian for Your Minor Children — If you have any children under 18 years old, you need to name a legal guardian. This can be a previously selected godparent, a close relative, or anyone else you trust to do the job. Just make sure you discuss this role with the person ahead of time!

5. Name Your Beneficiaries — Detail the full legal names of the people you want to receive your assets, and their relationship to you. In most states, a spouse is recognized as being first in line for this property, with children being second. You can choose to “disinherit” immediate family members, but such declarations often don’t stand up if challenged in court.

6. Distribute Your Assets — The simplest thing to state is that all your assets go to your surviving spouse, or to your child/children should you and your spouse die simultaneously. Or you can get more detailed, especially when it comes to leaving personal items that are not part of your legal estate.

7. Detail Your Funereal Wishes — Here’s the place to say how you wish your remains to be handled. Do you want to be buried? Cremated? If you’ve made arrangements ahead of time, you can refer to them here.

8. Sign and Witness — You’ll need to sign the will and then have it witnessed in writing. The rules for this vary by state. In some states, a notary public can serve as witness. In others, you’ll need signatures from two people not named in the will. Check your state laws to see which rules apply.

There are do-it-yourself websites for writing wills. A lawyer can also prepare one for you, although this job is often given to a firm’s paralegals. It’s a fairly simple procedure, but one that needs to be done properly if it’s going to hold up in court.

Earn a Paralegal Degree at Everest University Online

Preparing wills is just one of the many jobs often performed by paralegals. Other jobs can include drawing up contracts, writing briefs, interviewing witnesses and doing legal research.

You can learn to do all these jobs, and more, when you earn an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in Paralegal from Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. Designed to prepare you to work under the direction of a licensed attorney in a law firm, corporate law department or government agency, Everest University Online’s Paralegal associate degree program can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to qualify for many entry-level positions in this exciting field.

Because these programs are online, you can earn your degree on your own schedule and at your own pace. It’s the perfect solution if you want to earn a degree while still holding down a full- or part-time job, or while taking care of your family.

For more information about the online Paralegal career education programs, contact Everest today!

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

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