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Here’s a list of things to consider regarding wills:
- Consult an attorney. Although wills written without legal advice are generally valid, an attorney can help ensure that the will actually accomplishes your objectives.
- If an attorney is not used, know the requirements for witnessing and executing valid wills in the state. Follow them precisely. A will is more likely to be invalidated for mistakes in execution than for mistakes in writing.
- Store the original will in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or home safe, or with an attorney or county probate court. Inform a few trusted friends or family members of the will’s location so it can be found when needed.
- Review the will periodically. Do not write changes on an existing will or it may be invalidated. To make small changes, sign a formal codicil following the state’s rules for witnessing and executing wills. To make substantial changes, execute a new will.
- If you move from one state to another, have the will reviewed by an attorney in the new state.
- Include provisions for alternate dispositions of property in the event the primary beneficiary does not survive or a couple dies simultaneously.