Without a last will and testament your assets can be subject to probate law and distributed according to state requirements. It's important to create a will in order to ensure that your wishes are carried out, even if you become incapacitated. A will can also allow you to specify how your property should be distributed. If you already have a will in place, the vital steps are covered. However, you may wonder where should you keep your will for safety reasons? This article will review how your last will and testament should be handled once created and what safeguards you should consider and follow.
Creating a will should be easy and hassle free. With wills.com you can quickly put together a legally binding document that provides clarity and instructions for everything you own. With our step-by-step process, you can rest assured that your wishes and property will be cared for in the event of your passing.
Process Of Creating A Will
Step 1: Choose An Attorney or Will Creation Tool
Choosing an attorney can be an important decision when creating a will. An experienced estate planning lawyer can provide services in writing wills, but often at a premium cost. There are other ways to create a will, such as online and will kits. There are benefits of using an attorney and a will creation tool, but ultimately, you get to decide the best method. Understand that a will, when involving a complex estate, may need more revisions and oversight than a traditional document. Consult with one of our experts directly to see if wills.com is a tool that's right for you.
Step 2: Choose Beneficiaries and Executor
One of the first items to address when creating a will is deciding how you want to divide your assets and who should be beneficiary of such assets. For example, you may decide that you want to give all your money to your children, but nothing to a sibling. Instead, you may wish to name your sibling on a deed of property you own. In addition to overseeing your estate, you will also need to choose who will follow through with carrying out these wishes. This person is the named will executor.
Step 3: Write Out Your Will
After choosing who gets benefits from your estate, you need to write down your wishes. This part of the process is very personal. You can use a form provided by your attorney, or you can simply write out your own will.
Step 4: Sign And Have Witnesses Sign
When you feel ready, sign the will and have witnesses sign it too. Make sure that the witnesses know exactly what you want them to do if something happens to you before you die.
Step 5: File With The Court
If you live in a state that requires you to file your will with the court, then you must do so. Otherwise, you don't have to worry about this step.
What Happens After You Have Created Your Will?
Safeguarding a will is critical, but often overlooked. It's important to keep your will somewhere safe after it's written. Ideally, you should keep your will at home with you. However, it's not uncommon for individuals and families to keep a will in a bank safe deposit box or in a fireproof safe. There are many places that you could put your will. Some common options include:
Safe Deposit Box at Bank or Credit Union – Many banks offer safe deposit boxes. These are usually located inside their bank branches. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. However, these boxes are not secure enough to hold important documents such as your will.
Home Safes – Home safes are great because they are often hidden away from prying eyes. Home safes come in all shapes and sizes. They can be built into walls, under beds, in closets, etc. Although, home safes are very expensive to buy and install and can be difficult to open.
File Cabinets/Drawer – File cabinets are another type of cabinet that can be used to store your will. Like document storage cabinets, file cabinets come with locks.
While your home office may be a suitable place to store a will, remember that disasters do happen. In order to avoid catastrophe, keeping a will safeguarded from potential hazards like fire, vandalism, or theft, consider storing it where it is protected from outside issues.
Avoid giving it directly to your beneficiaries. A will can often cause disputes among family members who may raise issues with your specified wishes. Under certain circumstances, family members can attempt to contest or dispute a will. For this reason, it's best to keep things private and allow your executor to handle distribution of assets in the event of your passing.
Who Can View My Will?
Another question people ask is “Can anyone view my will?” The answer to this question depends on whether you are married or single. If you are married, your spouse has the right to read your will if they are named as a beneficiary in the will.
Otherwise, only your closest relatives (i.e., children, parents, siblings) can view your will. However, this is your choice. A lot of people don't want anyone to see their will until they have died. Once your will goes through probate, then it comes to public record.
Who Is Notified Once A Will Is Created?
The first person to receive notice once a will is created is the executor. This person is responsible for making sure that everything listed in the will is carried out. In some cases, the executor is appointed by the person who created the will, or they are appointed by the court. Regardless of how the executor is chosen, the executor needs to keep track of all assets and debts. They will be aware of the will and are typically the person that is told where the will is being kept safe.
Once the person who has created the will has died, that is when the executor receives a notification, they send copies of the will to each of the beneficiaries. After receiving the copy, each beneficiary has one year to contest the validity of the will. If no one contests the will within one year, then the will becomes final. When you die, anyone that is named in the will, as a beneficiary is allowed a copy of the will.
Do Family Members Need To Be Told What Is In The Will?
A common misconception among people who create wills is that they assume that everyone knows what is in the will. This isn't true. Many times, family members aren't even notified that a will exists, until the person dies, and their executor brings their will forward to go to the probate process.
Some people want to tell their family members what is in their will, while others like to keep it private. This way, it avoids any discussions or arguments about any choices you have made in your will. However, if family members know what is in the will, then they will be aware of what their family member wants and can be clear of what they want to happen after they die.
Online Wills: Where Should You Keep Your Will
You may consider writing a will online. With, wills.com your will is not only created in under 15 minutes, but it is also stored online as well. Once you have completed your will, you can choose where you store it, either on a hard drive, somewhere on your computer or you can print it out. Then you can store it physically using one of the methods we mentioned above.
Using Online Will Creation Services
Once you have completed your will, storing it is quite easy. You need to put it somewhere where it will be completely safe, and you don't need to worry about it. Once you have found somewhere to store your will, you then need to let someone know like a beneficiary or your executor where the will is.
This is so they know where it is when the time comes, and they need it. Otherwise, you don't have to tell anyone that you have created a will and what it contains unless you want to. Yet, once the will goes through probate, then anyone can have access to your will.