If you have not already made your last will and testament, do so immediately. Inheritance laws may vary but the last thing you want is conflict after you’ve departed this mortal coil. Making a will ensures that your wishes are heard, if not always followed to the letter.
Take a moment to research inheritance laws in your area to ensure that anything you ask for isn’t illegal. Your will may be contested or overturned at the cost of thousands of dollars, eating away at the inheritance you wished to bequeath. It is better to strike a compromise than to risk people bankrupting themselves attempting to ensure that your final wishes are met.
If possible, use an attorney that specializes in wills. They will know the ins and outs of the process, what is legal and acceptable, and will offer invaluable advice. Their experience will help minimize costs. It will also help minimize costs if you go in with a clear yet flexible idea of what you have to give and what you wish to do with it. Use addenda to allocate assets so that you’re not continually paying an attorney to revise the document.
If you can not afford an attorney, write out a holographic will, have it witnessed and dated.
In any case, find a safe place to keep your original documents (safe deposit box, fire-proof safe, etc.) and keep photocopies on hand with details where the originals can be found. You may also wish to give a photocopy to a trusted friend or family member (although it probably shouldn’t be someone who will be inheriting anything substantial, or who will be upset that they aren’t inheriting anything substantial).