Did you know that 12% of Americans do not know how to get a will?
One of the most significant financial regrets people leave at the end of their lives. Making a will can be minimally stressful, so why don’t people do it? They fear it is too disruptive to their lives or fears conflict among the beneficiaries.
In reality, writing a will can relieve a lot of the anxiety surrounding one of the most significant transitions in life. It doesn’t have to be a monumental task and can be pretty straightforward.
If you think writing a will is daunting, read on to learn how to prepare to write a will and some start-to-finish tips and information.
What Is a Written Will?
A will is a document explaining what will happen to a person’s belongings after death. It is important to have a will in place so there is no confusion about what the person wanted to happen to their stuff. If a person dies without a will, their belongings will be distributed according to the laws of the state where they lived. This may not be what the person wanted and can cause conflict among family and friends.
A will allows a person to control what happens to their belongings after they die.
Consult With an Attorney
You should consult a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to ensure your will is valid and conforms to all state legal requirements.
Additionally, an estate planning lawyer can help you understand the different types of assets that can be included in a will and how you can distribute them. Without a professional’s assistance, it might be simple to err when making a will, preventing your wishes from being carried out.
Gather Your Documents
When you have decided to write a will, you can do a few things to make the process easier. You should gather all your essential documents. This includes birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce papers. You will also need to list assets such as property, savings, and investments.
Finally, you will need to name an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes. Once you have all your documents in order, you can sit down and confidently write your will.
Make a Plan
When preparing to write a will, the best thing you can do is make a plan. Figure out your goals and what you want to accomplish with your will.
Once you have a good understanding of what you want, you can start to gather the information you need. This includes things like your assets, debts, and any final arrangements you want to make.
With all this information, you can start putting together your will. If you are unsure about where to start, several resources might help. Once you have everything in order, be sure to have your will reviewed by a lawyer to ensure everything is in order and who will carry out your wishes.
Know Your Assets
When thinking about how best to prepare for writing a will, it’s essential first to know your assets. This includes your physical possessions and financial assets, such as savings and investment accounts.
Once you understand what you own, you can start thinking about how you want to distribute your assets after you die. This cannot be easy, but it’s essential to consider who you want to inherit your possessions carefully.
Once you clearly understand your assets and how you want to distribute them, you can start drafting your will.
List All Your Debts
When you list all your debts, you will want to include everything you owe. This includes any mortgage, car, student, credit card, medical bills, and other obligations. You will want to include the creditor’s name, the amount owed, and the monthly payment.
If you are married, you will also want to include your spouse’s debts. This information will help you make the best decisions about allocating your assets in your will.
Understand the Types of Wills
There are two main types of wills — testamentary and living. A testamentary will is only effective upon your death, whereas a living will goes into effect as soon as it’s created. It’s important to understand the difference between the two, so you can best determine which type of will is right for you and your family.
If you’re considering creating a will, the first step is to understand the types of choices and what each one entails. Once you know the different types of wills, you can start thinking about which would be best for your situation.
Once you’ve decided on the kind of will you want to create, you can gather the necessary information and documents to start the process.
Think of Your Financial Situation
Get your affairs in order when considering your financial situation, you should consider all your assets and debts. This will help you determine how to distribute your assets in your will best.
If you have a complex financial situation, you may want to consult with a financial advisor to help you prepare your will. It would help if you also thought about your relationships and who you would like to appoint as executor of your will. Once you have all this information, you can start drafting your will.
Determine Your Beneficiaries
One of the best ways to prepare for writing a will is to determine your beneficiaries. You can create a list of people or organizations from which you would like to receive your assets after you pass away.
Once you have selected your heirs, you can begin planning how your assets will be distributed among them. You may consider assigning specific assets to each if you have multiple beneficiaries. This will help to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Writing a will can be a complex process, but planning can help to make it go more smoothly.
Add Your Wishes to the Document
When you add your wishes to the document, you are making them legally binding. If anything happens to you, your wishes will be carried out.
If you have young children, you may want to designate a guardian for them. You may also want to include funeral arrangements and burial instructions. When you add your wishes to the document, be sure to have witnesses present and have the document notarized.
Have the Will Witnessed and Signed
When you’re ready to have your will witnessed and signed, choose witnesses who are trustworthy and reliable. They should be over the age of 18 and should not be named in the will. It’s a good idea to have two witnesses if one is unavailable when the time comes.
Schedule a time for the witnesses to come to your house or another convenient location. Have them bring a government-issued ID and a pen.
Let them read the will if they want to, but let them know they don’t have to. Have them sign the will in the presence of each other and of you. Thank them for their time and let them know that they can leave.
Appoint an Executor
In preparation, appointing an executor is one of the most critical steps. The executor is the person who will be responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out after you die, so it’s essential to choose someone you trust completely. Talk to your potential executor about your plans and ensure they are comfortable with the role.
Once you’ve appointed an executor, please provide them with a copy of your will and make sure they know where to find it. Keep your will updated and review it regularly to ensure it still reflects your wishes.
Keep Your Will up to Date
One of the best things you can do to prepare for writing a will is to keep it up to date. This way, your will is current and accurate if anything happens to you.
You should review it every few years or whenever significant changes occur, such as getting married, having children, or buying a new home. You should consult an attorney if you have questions about your will or need help updating it.
Store Your Will in a Safe Place
Once you understand what you want to include in your will, you can look into ways to store it. Some people choose to keep their will in a fireproof safe at home, while others opt to store it with their attorney or another trusted individual. The most crucial thing is to keep your will in a safe, secure place and to make sure that it is available to those who need it.
Writing a Will Today
It’s important to think about what you want your will to accomplish and understand a will’s basic components. It would help if you also considered who you want to serve as your executor and beneficiaries. In writing your will, you will need the help of an attorney.
Once you have a basic understanding of the process, you can start gathering the information you need to write a will.
If you need more legal tips and advice, check out the rest of our website.