Writing a Will is a highly personal process. This document indicates your wishes for after your death and can help provide for your family’s future. Because of its importance, people often feel overwhelmed when considering the creation of a Will.
Many people believe that Wills require complex legal language and clauses that cover every possible contingency. In reality, the legal requirements for a Will are simple. However, working with an experienced lawyer can help you better understand the legal processes behind writing a Will and ensure that your document meets all the requirements. An attorney can advise you on how long the process of writing a Will might take and walk you through every step.
A Will must account for every part of your financial life. As such, it is necessary to thoroughly examine your assets, debts, and property before putting pen to paper. Common assets that a Will may account for include:
Once you have an idea of your finances and assets, the next step is to identify beneficiaries, or heirs. These are the people who will gain assets after the payment of the estate’s debts. When you identify your beneficiaries, the writing process can begin.
The process of crafting of a Will does not need to be overly complicated. State law under North Carolina General Statutes § 31-3.3 outlines the requirements for a Will to be valid. This statute simply states that a written Will must contain:
Additionally, North Carolina General Statutes § 31-11.6 provides suggested text blocks that you can include in your Will to make your signature and those of the witnesses presumptively legal. A notary public must personally witness these signatures.
There is no requirement that you send your Will to the court after signing, nor do you have to notify the named beneficiaries about the Will. However, it is advised that you nominate an executor to oversee the estate, and you should let that person know about the Will and where to find the master copy. This will help the probate process begin sooner and proceed more efficiently after your passing.
There is no way to predict how long it will take to write and finalize a Will. A comprehensive Will must evaluate your assets, liabilities, and property. Depending on your financial records and the extent of your holdings, this process may take weeks or months on its own. In general, the greater a person’s assets, the longer it takes to write a Will.
Finalizing a Will is a relatively simple process by comparison. For a Will to be valid, a notary must observe the testator sign the Will in the presence of two witnesses. Those witnesses must also sign the document. For more information about the processes behind writing and finalizing a Will, call a dedicated attorney at our firm today.