My husband and I have never made a will. How do we go about doing that? Our kids are 18 and 16 and we live in State X.
Yes, you need wills. Wills are necessary to assure assets are transferred to the people you want (spouse and children presumably, but you may have other wishes), naming a guardian for your minor child, and setting up trusts for your children and even perhaps for your surviving spouse. You can use the sample will on this website to make decisions in advance of sitting down with an attorney, but the best approach is not to try it on your own, there are far too many issues to miss.
Even the best consumer will preparation software programs can commonly result in terrible errors. You should select an attorney in your state since the rules do differ considerably from state to state. Hire someone that has experience with estate planning and wills. A specialist that might be more expensive than a general practitioner may do a much better job, but you at least want someone that does wills and related planning as a large part of their practice. The best ways to find a good estate attorney is to ask another attorney (e.g., the one who did your house closing), or your accountant or investment manager.
Also, you need more than a will. You need a plan. You need powers of attorney to handle financial, legal, tax and other matters while you are disabled, living wills and health care proxies to address medical decisions and perhaps more. There is an emergency child medical form on this site you can print and fill in to protect your minor child. Do you have enough life insurance? What about college planning? If either your or your husband are disabled do you have disability insurance to protect your family? You really need to address the overall planning for your family, a will alone is not enough. We'll get the will form on this site updated and perhaps add other versions for different circumstances, but there is no substitute for getting a good local lawyer.
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