If you have no relatives and don’t care if the state gets everything you own, you may not need to write a will. But if you have assets, property or possessions you’d like to give to someone specific, you need to write a will. Otherwise, the state determines what happens after your death, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
We offer a do-it-yourself will kit for Washington State that makes it super easy to write down your wishes. But before you start, lread on for the basics of writing a will.
What a Will Does and Doesn’t Do
A will is a legal document explaining your wishes for distributing your property, possessions and assets. But a few things aren’t established in a will, though. For instance, according to EstatePlanning.com, a service provided by The WealthCounsel Companies, if you name a beneficiary on your life insurance polity or retirement accounts, a will is not needed for that beneficiary to inherit the asset.
Requirements for Creating a Will
You must be legally capable of creating a will, which is why witnesses are required (see below). You must also be 18 years of age or older to make a will. Once you create a will, you need to store it somewhere. If you want your loved ones to find your will, make sure to tell someone where to find it upon your death. If no one can find your will, the state will determine who inherits your property.
Decide Who Inherits What
You’ll need to be capable of creating a will, which is why witnesses are required (see below). Also, you must also be 18 years of age or older to write a will. Once you write a will, you need to store it somewhere. If you want your loved ones to find your will, make sure to tell someone where to find it upon your death. If no one can find your will, the state will determine who inherits your property.
Next, decide who inherits your assets, property and possessions. When fyou write a will, use each recipient’s full name, rather than identifying them as your wife or child, as this helps eliminate confusion, says Megan Leonhardt in an article written for Money magazine. She also recommends being very specific about assets, such as providing the address for property or writing down precise descriptions of personal property you plan to leave in your will.
According to a blog post by Redmond-based Pacific Northwest Law Group (PNWLG), your will must be signed in the presence of two or more witnesses. Otherwise, the will may not be valid. Holographic wills, which are written by hand and do not have witnesses), are NOT valid in Washington state, says PNWLG. But they also say that if a holographic will is created in a state in which they’re allowed, then Washington state honors the will.
Don’t delay in writing your will. Instantly download our do-it-yourself will kit, fill it in, get it witnessed by two people and you’re done? If you have questions or want to divvy up your assets in a way that requires more detailed planning, check out our lawyer referral listings on our other website at Attorneys’ Information Bureau.
Click here to buy an instant download of our DIY Will Kit. If you prefer, you can order a print copy, and we’ll mail the kit to you.
This blog post is not offered as specific advice, which may only be provided by an attorney based upon each individual situation. To find an attorney, click here to visit our attorney referral page.