Every adult in New Hampshire should have a will. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s true. Writing a will is the most important estate planning step that anyone can take because a will determines what happens to assets like money and how physical possessions are distributed after death. For parents, a will is crucial. This is the document that outlines who should have custody of their children if they die.

The basics of writing a will

In a will, one of the most important things to do is to name an executor. The executor is responsible for carrying out the wishes that have been outlined in the will. When naming beneficiaries, or people who will receive something from the will, it’s necessary to provide enough information to find them. Information like beneficiaries’ names, addresses and birth dates is key. A will should also list debts in addition to assets.

What happens with no will

Approximately 70% of adult Americans don’t leave a will when they pass away. This can make things harder on their friends and family. If someone dies without a will, they’re referred to as being “intestate.” When this occurs, there are no formal instructions about distributing assets, so it falls to the state. States will follow established guidelines, but these often don’t reflect the wishes of the decedent. Estate planning may eliminate the problem of assets being distributed in ways contrary to the wishes of the decedent.

A will can be written by an individual in their own hand. However, for people with complicated estates or children with more than one partner, consulting an experienced estate planning attorney may be a good idea.

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