Essential Estate Planning: Last Will and Testament

Sixty percent of Americans don't have a will, including a whopping 78 percent of Millennials (born between 1980–1995) and 64 percent of Generation Xers (born between 1965–1980)! When it comes to estate planning, you can never be too young or too old—but you can be too late. While it's not fun to think about your own mortality, writing your will is a wise and relatively easy thing to do. So easy, in fact, that you can do it yourself. 

There are only a few requirements your Last Will and Testament must meet before it's considered a legal document, which we explain below. And to help get you started, we've created a free Ohio Last Will and Testament Template for anybody to use. So no more excuses: ACT NOW! 

  1. Begin by stating your name, indicating that you're at least eighteen years old, and affirming that you're mentally sound and aware of what you're doing (namely, making a will).  
  2. After this initial statement, you'll name a person to manage your estate; this person is called an "Executor."  
  3. One of the primary responsibilities of your Executor—and (for most) the primary purpose of the will—is to distribute what's left of your money, property, and belongings after funeral costs and debts are settled. As far as how you do this, you're generally free to decide how and to whom you give away your assets.  Some prefer to give their belongings and money to various family members, while others donate their money and belongings to organizations and charities. For example, thousands of libraries and museums have benefited from belongings given to them through the wills of deceased individuals. 
  4. Finally, after you've written your will, you must have it signed by two witnesses that generally aren't also mentioned in the will (e.g., a neighbor, coworker, or friend). 

Like we said earlier, you can write your own will. Once you have, however, it's still a good idea to have your lawyer read it. This review will help enormously in making sure that you aren't overlooking any critical component of your affairs and to ensure that the will actually says what you mean it to say. 

In addition to making a last will and testament, you should also consider making a living will. This document will let any doctors know what to do if an illness or an accident leaves you unable to decide for yourself what should happen to you next. Along with giving you some measure of peace, it will also save your friends and family significant heartache as well.

Here is a free Ohio Last Will and Testament Template that you're welcome to use and (because it's in Microsoft Word) modify to fit your unique situation. (Please note that this document shouldn't be viewed or interpreted as providing legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship.) If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact us or schedule a consultation. We're here to help.

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