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You’re walking along the sidewalk when all of a sudden, a car swerves and nearly hits you. Luckily, you are okay but this near-death experience has made you think about writing up your last will and testament. You never know when it will be your time to go and you want to make sure that your family is cared for.
You’re still young so this will be your first time writing one up. Don’t worry, we can teach you how to write a will and testament. Check out this guide for the entire step by step process that you’ll need to follow to make your document legal.
What is a Will?
Before we tell you how to write a will, let’s talk about what it is. A will and testament is a document that details what’s to happen to your property, finances, and belongings after you pass on. It outlines who your things will go to and who is responsible for making sure it gets to them.
If you fail to start the estate planning process, it will be the government’s job to decide who your property and finances go to. They will do their best to figure out who your heirs are and distribute your things to them. They will do the same thing if you have any underaged children still alive. As probating a will is rather complicated and requires a tremendous amount of work, the proceeding may take slightly longer than if a will was prepared beforehand.
How to Write a Will and Testament?
If you don’t want the government to decide who your things go to, you’ll have to write a will and testament. “How do I write a will,” you ask? Follow these important steps.
Get Help or Use a Software Program
There are two ways you can go about writing your will. You can talk to a lawyer and have them walk you through the process or use a software program. You could try to free write the entire thing without the help of computer software or a professional but it’s easy to mess things up.
If you do the slightest thing wrong, your loved ones may be left having to pay a ton of legal fees in order to actually receive what you’ve left for them. Which avenue you go down to write your will all depends on your finances. It will cost a few thousand dollars to get a lawyer but paying for their expertise will be more than worth it.
Pick Your Beneficiaries
Once you’ve decided between using software or hiring a lawyer, it’s time to pick your beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries are the loved ones you choose to receive your property, money, and other assets when you pass away.
It’s important that you keep this information up to date. For example, if you change your mind on who gets your home, consult your lawyer, or revisit the software as soon as you make that decision. This way, your home goes to the right person if something happens to you unexpectedly.
Find an Executor for Your Will
The executor of your will is the person who will be carrying out your last wishes by handing off your things. The person you choose needs to be someone you trust. Someone who you know is responsible.
There are two routes you can go down. You could assign the role to an attorney or your bank. If you do this then you will be giving them about 2 percent of your estates as compensation for their efforts.
If you don’t want to pay this much to have someone give out your things, ask a family member or friend to do the job. You should still give them some kind of compensation but you won’t have to give them as much.
The last thing you want to do is be vague when you’re writing your will. The person carrying out your wishes needs to be able to read it and know exactly what you want.
For example, say you want to leave a majority of your assets to your wife. The idea is that your children will get your assets in the event something happens to her. The thing is, you can’t guarantee that she’ll actually give it to your kids.
If she has kids with another person after you pass, she may end up giving the finances and estate to those children instead.
Get Witnesses to Sign the Will
After you get the will written, you’ll need witnesses to sign it. These witnesses can’t be people who are written into the will and they must be at least 18 years old.
Not only will these witnesses sign the will and testament but a judge may call on them to answer questions if legal issues arise with the document.
Make it Personal if You Wish
Before you submit the document, you can personalize it if you wish by including a letter. You can use this letter as a way to tell your loved ones goodbye and explain your wishes.
Find a Place to Store the Will
You don’t want to lose an important document such as your will and testament in a house fire or a flood. Store it in a secure, fireproof safe.
Make sure at least one person you trust knows where your will is. You don’t want your family members scrambling to find it when and if something happens to you.
Take Care of Your Loved Ones After You’re Gone
You never know when something is going to happen to you. Make sure that your loved ones are taken care of by learning how to write a will and testament.
You can either invest in a software that will walk you through the process or consult a lawyer. Either way, it’s important that you get the document written and sent off to be finalized.
Trying to find a lawyer to handle your will? Check out our blog daily for all the latest legal advice. Including how to find a great lawyer.