Everything You Wanted to Know About Creating Your Own Will—But Were Too Afraid to Ask
It’s not pleasant to think about, but everyone should have a Will, in case the worst should happen. What happens to your children? How will your possessions be divided? What if you want to exclude someone from your estate? What do you need to do to make your Will legal?
Benefits of Creating a Will include:
- Creating a Will enables you to choose a guardian for your children, if you have any, rather than placing them with whomever the court system appoints.
- Writing a Will also lets you exercise power over your estate, even after death. You decide which of your responsible family members will become Executor or Trustee for your estate. This person is responsible for carrying out your wishes according to your Will.
- What if you don’t want your loved ones to spend a lot of time and money on funeral arrangements? Make it easy on them: express your funeral wishes in your Will.
Dying without a Will leaves the door open for the government to dictate what happens with your estate.
Common Questions About Creating a Will
Why Is Creating a Will Important?
You have worked hard for your money, home, and any other assets you have been able to accumulate over your lifetime. Don’t drop the baton right before you cross the finish line by allowing family members, friends, and business associates to make decisions about your assets you would not have made yourself.
It is not uncommon for siblings to disagree and even sue each other in court after the death of both parents in the absence of a Will. Without a Will, what the deceased would have wanted becomes a topic to be debated.
What About Your Coin Collection?
Why put your family in the position to fight over your stuff? The emotional trauma of your death will be more than enough drama in their lives. Creating a Will eliminates some of this kind of tension. You can decide in your Will where your assets go and how much to give to each person or institution.
Leaving these types of decisions to your family while they are still grieving is unfair and puts them in a bad position. Rather than leaving them upset and fighting with each other, your Will can shift the blame to you, which is a healthier outcome for everyone.
The only people who should not appear in your Will are your witnesses. They don’t even have to know what’s in your Will; they just have to witness the signing of the Will.
Writing Your Last Will and Testament
First, if you have been procrastinating, stop. Writing your own will can be liberating. Once you’ve done it, all you have to do is update it periodically when you have a significant life change. If you’re concerned about the expense, don’t be. There are many low-cost options available that can accommodate most people’s needs.
Inexpensive Ways to Create a Will
There are inexpensive, popular online resources like Nolo.com and LegalZoom where you can complete a Will in minutes for a fraction of what you would pay an attorney.
Of course, if you’re a multimillionaire, a lawyer might be more appropriate for your situation; you should consider hiring a local attorney to better serve your estate-planning needs. However, there are a few other scenarios for which you might want to look into hiring an attorney in your area, including:
- If you have a large estate or multiple legal partnerships
- If you want to disinherit a child or spouse
- If you are concerned about someone contesting your Will for any reason, especially as a question of sound mind
If you chose a Do-It-Yourself Will (DIY), most online services include software that will walk you through the steps to complete your Will. You will then need to have your document and signature notarized by a Notary Public and signed by two witnesses.
With such providers, your Will is also kept online, where you can make changes whenever you need. Web-based services for drafting a Will, like Nolo and LegalZoom, cost less than eighty dollars—a bargain for the convenience and peace of mind.
You can also buy a book at Amazon on the subject for less than twenty dollars.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t choose procrastination. Something so simple shouldn’t be left unfinished, leaving your family fighting over your estate and wishes after you are gone. Decide now that you will do it, and you are one step closer to creating your own Will.