Writing a will may be a strange and uncomfortable experience. It's easy to push it aside and opt out of it, because it's often difficult to consider death and what happens after we pass. However, for our families and loved ones, creating a plan can make a world of difference. Luckily, with changing technology, setting up a last will and testament for yourself and your family is easier than ever. Knowing how to make a will at home can save you time and money, here's how.
There is no reason to delay writing a will. The sooner you do so, the better. Yet, you may be surprised how many people don't have a will.
Wills.com is an online service that can help you answer how to make a will at home. With a few simple steps, you can set up your plan and rest easy, knowing your assets are protected and your family is taken care of.
What Is A Will?
A will is an instrument by which a person gives instructions to his or her heirs after death. It is a legal document in which a person names who inherits what property upon his or her death. It also details division of assets and instructions as it surrounds a person's house, monetary accounts, retirement, and even debt.
The main purpose of a will is to ensure that one's wishes regarding the distribution of an existing estate are carried out. This is often achieved through naming beneficiaries in the will. If there is no will, the state decides who gets the deceased's property. Wills are also important if you have any children under 18 years old. In the will, it will name the guardians for the child in the tragic event that both parents were to die before they were of age.
As a result, everyone should have a will. They make the distribution of assets after death a lot easier on everyone.
One of the drawbacks to creating a will is the requirement of hiring an estate planning attorney. Luckily, newer technology has changed the way people are addressing will creation. Learning how to make a will at home can save time and money, and still be recognized in every state as a legal document.
How To Create A Will
Creating a will takes a bit of organization and planning. There are various ways to create a will, from hiring a lawyer to creating your own, or using an online will writing service. The will writing service, Wills.com makes creating your will at home a lot easier. They already have the structure that you need to fill in. All you need to do is to provide the information and the will is stored in a safe location that is easily accessible.
Below, we have put together all the essential things you need to know about how to make a will at home.
Might sound obvious, but title your will. It needs to be clear so that anyone who finds this document knows that it is your last will and testament. This title should include your full legal name. Alongside this, if you have older versions of your will, you should mention that this will is your most recent will. This will then invalidate any other wills that are found.
You should include all and any names you've used or gone by.
Name A Executor
To know how to make a will at home, it's important to understand the role of an executor. An executor is a person who administers the affairs of the decedent's estate. He or she must be named in the will. They will make sure all your last wishes are fulfilled. You can also choose a backup executor if you want to be safe.
If you have minor children, you should name their guardian in the will. This could be your spouse, friend, or relative that will act as a guardian.
This person will take physical and legal custody of your children after you die. Generally, custody is passed to the other parent as long as they are still alive and deemed competent.
Include all your assets in the will. Include any real estate you own, cars, boats, planes, vacation homes, etc. Also, include any money you have in savings or checking accounts. You need to take your time over this, as you don't want to miss anything out.
Also, you should check with the state about what assets you are not allowed to include in your will. As investment or trust accounts aren't typically considered part of your assets.
Naming beneficiaries is key when creating a will. You can list individuals or organizations in order of preference. You can also give some of your assets to charity.
There are two types of beneficiaries: primary and contingent. Primary beneficiaries are those who inherit immediately upon your death. Contingent beneficiaries are those who inherit only if someone else does not survive you first.
You can designate more than one beneficiary for each item listed in the will. You can either leave everything to whomever you like or split it between different people. For example, you might decide to give $100,000 to each of your three kids, while leaving the rest of your estate to charity.
Alongside this, you can name anyone who you don't want to receive anything.
The residuary clause is where you list all the items left over after the distribution of your assets. The residuary clause is usually placed at the end of the will.
These are all the items that haven't been specified to a certain benefactor. You can leave whatever you haven't mentioned to a particular benefactor like a partner, or you can leave it up to your executor to handle.
Signature and Date
Your signature is another vital part of your will. It states that you wrote the will yourself. This is important because if you ever get into trouble, you can prove that you wrote the will.
Again, check with your state about the requirements for signatures. As you will need a witness to sign to say that they saw you write and sign the will. No will is valid legally until it has been signed in front of witnesses. Finally, write down the date that you signed the will.
An obvious step, but once you have created your will, you want to store it somewhere safe. You then need to tell your executor where you have put your will.
After big life events, you should go back and update your will when necessary. This could be when any of your children have become an adult, etc. You should always be as up-to-date as possible.
Do You Need A Lawyer?
A lot of people think that writing a will is a complicated process that requires legal assistance. For this reason, many avoid creating a will, as estate planning lawyers can be costly.
Yet the truth is, if you have a simple estate then you can easily write your own will without the help of a lawyer. A lawyer can charge you hundreds of dollars for a simple will, that you can do at home easily for a lot less. The great thing about learning how to make a will at home is being able to avoid the high costs of legal fees associated with law offices.
That said, the positive of using a lawyer is that if you have a complicated estate, they will be able to determine what needs to go where in your will much easier. Alongside this, a common mistake people make when creating a will without a lawyer is that they don't do everything to make their will legally valid. They also do not realize what kind of assets they have that they need to include in their will.
Sometimes people make their will and forget about certain assets or don't get all the facts correct. They may not include their children as they believe that they won't die for a long time, and then the unexpected happens and no guardian has been named. A lawyer will think of every possibility to make sure that your will is accurate as possible and covers all the bases.
As a result, you don't need a lawyer to write your will. Yet, it is advisable to have a lawyer check over your will once it is written before it is signed and dated to make sure that everything is correct.
Wills.com: How To Make A Will At Home
You can easily make a will at home, however, to make it legal it must be signed in the presence of witnesses. A lot of people think that you require a lawyer to create a will, but you don't, you can make a legal and perfect will at home.
A lawyer will be more precise and know exactly what needs to be included in your will. However, writing services like will.com does as well; they can take the pressure off you on what you need to remember to include. Additionally, Wills.com is much cheaper than hiring a lawyer, and you will get the same result. Thus, there is no time to waste, it's time to get your will written in the comfort of your own home.