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A will is a legal document that states the final wishes of the deceased party on how to handle their affairs. Statistics show between one-third and two-thirds of Americans do not have a will. Not having a will in Tennessee could leave a person’s assets in the hands of the state. There are many other important reasons to have a will.

Who should get a will?

A person doesn’t need to be rich to have a will drawn. A will ensures that the person’s final wishes are honored regardless of how many assets or how much money they have. It states who they wish to be beneficiaries of their property or accounts.

A will also helps the decedent state who gets their business or name a guardian of minor children. The person may also include who they wish to be executor, which is the responsibility to carry out the will and organize affairs. A will saves the family time from going to court.

How to start a will

When a person decides to make a will at any age, they should appoint guardians of minor children, name an executor and outline how they wish for property to be divided. They need to gather the name, address and birth dates of anyone named in the will as well as debt records, such as mortgages, and list their assets. A list of assets may include an interest in a company, real state, stocks, bonds, IRAs, 401(k)s and life insurance policies. The person who makes the will should let the executor and trusted family members know where it is.

A will can be made via software or online or handled by an attorney. After the will has been filed, it may need to be adjusted regularly for life events, such as death of beneficiaries or divorce. Prenuptial agreements, existing wills and divorce agreements may change a will.

A simple will is useful for anyone. For more complex estate issues, an estate planning attorney may help create the proper documents.