Making a will is one of those things we all delay. No one wants to sit down and consider our imminent demise, and what might happen to our dependents and assets when we’re gone. But it’s really not as painful as it might sound. You can follow these six simple steps to make a will that will secure your peace of mind and ensure your intentions are honored.
First, Lawyer or No Lawyer?
This seems like an obvious choice at first glance (who wants to involve a lawyer unless absolutely necessary?), but you might prefer to have a professional walk you through the steps to make a will. In addition, those with a fair amount of wealth, resources, or business interests will likely benefit from working with a lawyer.
Yet with the proliferation of sites like Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer that make creating wills online relatively simple, many people are elect to write their own will without the services of a lawyer.
Make Arrangements for Kids
If you have children under 18, it’s important to designate a guardian who will be willing and able to look after your children in the event of your passing. This is certainly not an issue you want to leave up to the legal system to determine.
Make a List of Your Assets
One of the most important beginning steps to make a will is simply creating a list of your most substantial belongings. What are the things you own that are of value? What property in your possession would you like to pass down? Make a thorough list.
If you’re married, keep in mind that your spouse will in most cases stand to inherit everything unless otherwise stated in your will. Anyone who watches Dateline knows that.
State Who Gets What
After writing down your assets, it’s time to decide on your beneficiaries. (Keep in mind that pets cannot own property, so leaving your house to Fido is not an option.)
It’s also good to take stock of any potential hot-button items you may own. Do you have family heirlooms that your kin might squabble over down the road? If you want Aunt Myrtle to inherit your hotly contested collection of 1970s macaroni murals, spell out whatever you want to include in your will.
Choose Your Executor … Wisely
An executor is the person or entity responsible for making sure the directives of your will are honored. Many people prefer to name a bank or an attorney as an executor to avoid the awkwardness of forcing a family member or close friend to be the enforcer of a will’s terms.
Fill it Out and Find Some Witnesses
Actually writing your will and getting it signed are the final steps to make a will. Keep in mind you’ll need witnesses to verify your signature. Securing witnesses and making sure everything is signed correctly is a huge deal, as anything askance can invalidate a will in a court of law.
The Steps to Make a Will Are Easy, Stop Putting it Off
We hope you’ve found these steps to make a will easy and informative. Writing a will can be a daunting process, but it’s the best way to preserve your legacy, prevent future family strife, and make sure your estate goes exactly where you want it to.
No matter your age or where you are today, do the right thing – the responsible thing – and go begin the steps to make a will today.
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