Making a will may seem complicated, but virtually everyone needs a last will, and making a will is straightforward. Here’s why starting one now is critical.
Replace the oil in your vehicle. Clear out the gutters. Create a will. Whether it’s a list or simply a few to-dos running through your mind, practically everyone has those annoying things they’re sure they’ll do eventually. But work gets stressful, vacation happens, life gets in the way… and those tasks never get done.
However, this does not imply that these responsibilities are unimportant. Making a will now—or scheduling a date on your calendar that isn’t “someday” — is more important than ever if you’re married or have a kid. Having a will, regardless of how many assets you have or whether you rent or own property, is essential. It avoids confusion and stress during an already difficult time but completing the process now ensures you merely have to add, rather than start from scratch, as life becomes busier and more complex.
Making a will does not have to be complicated. Or it might be stressful. We’ll walk you through everything so you can get started with confidence (and maybe even a little excitement).
Who needs a will?
Even singles and twenty-somethings may benefit from using a basic template to create a will, but If you belong to any of these categories having a will is essential:
- Individuals who possess property. If you own a home, a vehicle, or even valuable furniture or electronics such as your smartphone, laptop, and TV, having a will assures that these assets are distributed in the manner you choose.
- If you have a spouse. You may believe that all of your possessions will immediately pass to your spouse, and although this is the law in many jurisdictions, having a will guarantees that this occurs quickly and without problems. For instance, suppose you pass away without leaving a will and have no heirs. A cheque is issued in your sole name. Your spouse must seek the assistance of a court-appointed administrator to get it paid.
- If you are a parent. Despite the consensus among experts that everyone should have small children, make a will. You must have the will to name a guardian of the estate and a legal guardian responsible for managing their finances until they are of legal age.
Why you should create a will
To assist your family.
The most important reason everyone needs a will is to save your family from a major administrative burden if you die suddenly. Without a will, your possessions are split according to state regulations. This implies that all of your assets would be transferred to your husband, who would then face the difficult job of deciding how to split your things. A legal document may assist in reducing disagreement amongst family and friends during a difficult period.
To avoid legal complications.
Even if you’re married and the bulk of your property, such as bank accounts, is in both of your names, having a will protects your spouse against legal complications.
A will enables you to choose an executor to handle procedures such as cashing checks, distributing money to beneficiaries, and paying off debts. Without an executor, cleaning up these loose ends becomes an administrative nightmare that requires repeated judicial appointments for your next of kin.
To ensure your children’s safety,
Nobody hates to think about it, but what would happen if you and your partner could not care for the children? Appointing a legal guardian as well as an estate guardian assures that your children will be raised by the people you want to perform the job — and having everything in writing ensures that there will be no drawn-out custody disputes between different segments of the family.
You may mention who you want to be the permanent guardian of your children in your will, but also who may be able to drop everything and take care of them instantly if the original guardian cannot do so. Assume you want your parents, who reside across the nation, to be the guardians of your children. It is also advisable to choose a backup guardian, such as a trusted neighbor or local family, who can make medical choices for your children, care after them in their homes overnight, and retain their routine in your hometown until your parents can fetch them.
You may also designate someone you trust to handle the money you give them, who may or
may not be the same person as their legal guardian.
This individual, known as a guardian of the estate, may handle money to preserve the minor’s financial interests until they reach the age of 18. That way, you may choose your numbers-savvy sister to take the money. At the same time, your parents or in-laws become guardians of the children or split the responsibilities, whatever makes the most sense for your family scenario.
The numerous “what ifs” in picturing the worst make it clear: Even if the unthinkable were to happen, a will may ensure that your children can maintain a sense of normality even in the midst of a difficult and stressful moment.
Leaving a Legacy
If you are deeply committed to a cause, organization, or alma school, a will may guarantee that your assets will be distributed to that institution. It’s also a good idea to provide possible backups if the charity or organization in question goes out of business due to a disaster.
Considering leaving a legacy, consider life insurance as you check items off your parenting to-do list.
To evaluate your assets.
Making a will today may assist you in the following ways: While you may believe you have few assets, considering how your possessions are organized might help you figure out what you have and where it is. You have a lot more than you think, from your bank account to your vehicle to your laptop to your high school notebooks — and many people in your life who would want to honor your legacy by preserving these goods.
How to write a will
A will does not have to be complicated to be legally binding — but a lawyer should review it (read: It should not be typed one-handed as a list draft on your phone during your commute.) Many individuals find it beneficial to start with an internet template, then arrange a brief review with a lawyer to ensure that all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. You haven’t omitted any important items, such as witness signatures, which might render the whole will worthless.
“We don’t possess a home or a vehicle, but when my husband and I went on our first vacation without our kid, I realized I needed to create a will,” says Blake, a one-year-old mother. “We discovered a template online and were able to employ the same lawyer that my parents hired to review it. We were only charged for roughly two hours, which was well worth it to ensure that everything was airtight.”
You may have the best of both worlds by using an online service that guides you through the procedure step by step. The program was created by some of the world’s most recognized lawyers to give you a comprehensive estate planning package tailored to your requirements. This comprises a will, a living will for medical emergencies, a financial power of attorney, and a revocable living trust or transfer deed to keep your house out of probate.
To be legitimate, a will must be signed by state law once it has been finished. The specific conditions for signing a will differ by state. Most states require that the will be signed. In the presence of two, sign the will—or more witnesses. Sign the will.
Where should a will be kept?
A will is useless if no one knows it exists. In most cases, you must present the signed original to the probate court, but keeping duplicates in safe locations is also a good idea. A will is often stored in a safe deposit box, at the county clerk’s office (which may charge a minimum storage fee), at an attorney’s office (assuming you retain the same family attorney), or someplace secure in your house.
“We have one copy of our will in a safe deposit box at our bank, another in a filing cabinet, and a digital copy that my brother-in-law owns. “I believe it’s crucial to keep copies in a few different locations so they can be quickly accessible,” Emily, a mother of three, adds.
Furthermore, even if you don’t share the physical copy of your will with anybody else, make sure a few individuals are aware of where your will may be kept. Of course, this includes your spouse, but make sure your parents, in-laws, or a close friend can quickly discover it if necessary.
Make a will today – and remember to keep it up to date.
Having a final will and testament in place is not a pleasant thought, but it gives a piece of mind to your heirs. However, it is pointless if they are unaware of it. And making a will does not have to be complicated. The best way to ensure that your wishes are honored is to use a legal template — you can work with a lawyer, but if you have a relatively simple asset allocation, you may be able to use an online template and have a lawyer go over it — and have physical and digital copies, as well as directions to your loved ones on how to find these documents if needed. Of course, you should reread your will every few years or if a significant event in your personal life occurs, such as marriage or childbirth.