Creating a will is an intimidating task. We all know how difficult it is to write about what happens after you pass away. A lot of people are afraid to take on that responsibility and simply don’t do it.
But that is not the solution.
The will is one of the most important documents you create. With your own will, you determine who receives all your assets after you are gone. Also, you make sure that there’s no beef among your family members and that your children are happy.
Do I Need a Will?
Nobody needs to create a will, but everyone needs one. If you decide not to write your own will, state laws will determine what happens to your assets.
For the majority of people, that is fine because your property goes to your kids, but the probate process becomes more complicated with beneficiaries needing to visit the probate court.
Often, there’s much more to think about and things that you are not aware of. The will ensures that all of your property is distributed according to your wishes and that there will be no quarrels.
Whether you want to do it yourself, without a lawyer or hire an attorney to help you with the process, we advise everyone to create the will with a sound mind.
How to Write Your Own Will: 5 Steps
In this section, we will show you how to write a simple will correctly, by following the five steps we’ve listed below. You can have your own will ready in just a few hours and ensure that your beneficiaries receive your assets as you imagined it.
- Collect All the Necessary Information
The first step in the process is to gather all the necessary details that you will include in the will.
What Your Will Must Contain
You will need the basic estate planning documents, which cost a few hundred dollars to get. Although this may seem expensive, having incorrect documentation can be much worse down the road. The best way to do this correctly is to hire an estate planning attorney, who will help you with the documents and your will.
Write down all the assets that you have, including real estate, personal items, and property. This includes your cars, bank accounts, family heirlooms, and other items of importance.
Another thing you must consider is an executor. An executor is the person you want to be in charge of distributing your estate. This can be an estate attorney, or the same person who is in your will.
Either way, this person needs to be someone you trust fully, and sometimes it is better to have a legal representative in this position.
Last but not least, you need to figure out who your beneficiaries are (usually your children, family members) and the guardian where necessary. The guardian is the person who receives and takes care of the assets of minor children until they are of age.
Now that you have everything you need, let’s start writing.
- Writing a Will
Writing wills isn’t difficult. There are two options for you to consider. The first is to hire a lawyer who will help you construct your will and make sure that it is valid. This might be the best option for most people, especially those who aren’t confident in using technology.
The second option is to write online wills. There are a large number of websites that allow you to write simple online wills. Just follow the basic steps and add all the information requested, and you’re good to go. Unless you want to have copies of handwritten wills handed out, this is quite an efficient way to complete the task.
In terms of the writing itself, there’s not much to think about. Your aim is to write a simple will that will be clear for the executor and the beneficiaries. Find out about some previous wills online or in-person to see how they are structured. If you are struggling with writing, you can always ask for legal assistance and get an attorney who has experience to help you out.
- The Will Must Be Legally Valid
Once you have everything down on paper, you need to make your last will a legal document. Therefore, you must obey the laws about your last will and testament. Different laws can be found in different states regarding property and assets, as well as the document itself and how it is organized.
Did you know that there are four types of wills:
- Simple Wills
- Testamentary Trust Wills
- Joint Wills
- Living Wills
- Holographic Wills (not the best)
We’ll not get into each of these wills, but most states have this basic division. These wills are considered valid around the US, but there’s one more thing to consider when it comes to validity aside from choosing the type of will and making sure to form it properly.
And that’s witnesses. To execute a valid will, you need witnesses to sign the document. Before the witnesses sign the paper, they need to provide their personal information and write it down too. In multiple states, having two witnesses is enough, but that number can be higher.
They will confirm that your last will has been constructed with sound mind and is therefore legal. Witnesses must be of age, and they can be contacted in the future by the executor or a lawyer in case updates have been made or something has changed.
- Proofread Your Will and Keep It Safe
Now that you know how to write a will, you need to wrap up the entire process. Before you seal it in, you need to proofread your will and make sure:
- It contains all the necessary information.
- it clearly showcases your wishes as well as how you want to handle property and assets.
- It has the witness signatures on it (if it doesn’t have the witnesses sign it).
- Your attorney has approved it.
- You’ve completed all the legal requirements.
Keep the last will and testament in a safe place. You can place it in a safe in your home or entrust it to the lawyer, assuming you hired one to assist you with the writing.
- Keep Your Simple Will Up to Date
The last step is to keep your will updated. People write wills at different times in their lives. By the time you pass away, a lot of things can change, from your estate plan to the money you earn and the assets you gain (or sell).
It is your responsibility to ensure that the information provided in the will is accurate and up-to-date. This is the only thing that will keep the document legal. Once written, the will can be easily modified and changed, and this is what you remember.
What else can you do?
Make sure you check your wishes, keep track of your money status, and ask the lawyer to change it in the will if necessary. You can write new clauses and delete the old ones as things get moved around.
Most people do estate planning, write a will, and never revise it, which can be problematic, especially if you don’t have someone to handle the probate process. Updating your will is a process you might repeat multiple times, depending on how much the situation changes.
What Happens After You Write a Will?
Once you write a will, there’s not much to do but ensure that all the information corresponds with all the life changes. The sooner you write the will, the better. Most people opt for a lawyer to help them out, and that is the best way to ensure legality.
A simple will can serve as a personal way to say goodbye and help your successors avoid probate in a court of law. However, the will can also be a part of your financial planning process, and it can come in handy for those who are on their path to building generational wealth through lifestyle banking.
Take Care of Your Family Through Lifestyle Banking
All of us want to leave something for our kids and ensure their future is bright and without the struggles we’ve had. This is possible through a system called lifestyle banking.
The lifestyle banking system is based on whole-life insurance. You get whole-life insurance from a mutual insurance company and pay your premiums.
As you pay premiums, your cash value accumulates, allowing you to take loans from the insurance provider and use that money to invest in real estate, pay off your debts, and pay yourself interest.