Prepare by getting organized
After a death, there are many legal details to hammer out. While it is not necessary to get a lawyer, it is strongly recommended. A lawyer will make sure all the ‘t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted. The time following a death of a loved one is extremely emotional, and even the closest family will have disagreements over the most trivial matters. To make sure there is still peace in the family, it is a good idea to let a lawyer figure things out.
Before getting in touch with a lawyer there are several important documents that you need to gather. Those include:
- Bank Statements
- Insurance Policies
- Vehicle and Boat titles
- Tax Documents
Everyone knows they should have a will, but the vast majority – about 70% of us – do not. Writing a will is easy and inexpensive, and once you are done you can rest easy knowing your hard earned money and property will be distributed according to your wishes. As well, if you have children, you can leave instructions on who will be left in charge of them if you pass, leaving that decision out of the courts hands. Making a will is easy, you just need to be at least 18 years of age and must be of sound mind when the will is written. To make a will legal it must:
- Expressly state that it is your will
- Be computer generated or typewritten
- Be signed and dated
- Be signed by 2-3 witnesses, these witnesses must be people who don’t stand to inherit anything in the will
Although you do not need a lawyer to complete a will, it is recommended to do one with a lawyer, as it will avoid any legal headaches after your passing. Once your will is complete, it’s recommended that it is kept somewhere safe and secure outside of your home. If you do your will through a lawyer, most law firms will store it for you free of charge. Many people keep their wills in a safety deposit box at a bank, but this is not recommended as the contents could be sealed at the time of death. The executor of your will should be aware of the location of it.