No one wants to think forward to their own passing—which is probably why almost 70% of Americans have no will and testament. In other words, if you’re taking steps to create your own will, you’re already a head and shoulders above most people!
However, it’s crucial to remember that this document will only be useful to your loved ones if you do it right. A poorly written will may be found legally invalid, leaving your beneficiaries to pay expensive court fees to fight for the assets they deserve.
Knowing how to create a will is just as important as having the drive to create one. When you’re ready to get your last wishes down on paper, here are the steps you should take.
1. Get the Support You Need
End-of-life planning isn’t something you should do on your own if you don’t have relevant experience. To ensure that you create a valid will, it’s important to get the support you need.
It’s not hard to find DIY online templates or software programs to help you create a will. However, most situations will require the expertise of a professional. You can read on the importance of hiring an estate planning attorney here.
2. Choose an Executor
Your executor is the person who will take care of the wishes you express in your will. It’s important to choose someone you trust, and it’s also a good idea to make sure it’s someone who is willing to accept the responsibility. In most cases, it’s a smart move to find a trusted family member or friend.
You should also consider naming an alternate executor as well. This can help keep the probate process smooth if your first choice is unable to serve as an executor.
3. Name a Guardian for Your Dependents
If you have children or dependents, it’s important to name a guardian for them. Just as with the executor, it’s a good idea to name one or more alternate guardians just in case.
4. Decide Who Gets Your Assets
For most people, this will be the most time-intensive part of the will creation process. Selecting which assets go to which beneficiaries can be a very personal choice, but your attorney can help offer objective advice if you’re struggling. They can also offer insights about the details of each option, from the pros and cons of leaving assets to young children to the requirements for leaving your estate to charity.
5. Store and Update Your Will
Even once you have your wishes down on paper, you aren’t finished! Now is the time to find a safe place to store an original copy of your will. If you’re creating a will with a lawyer, you can have them store the document on your behalf.
In addition, don’t forget to review your will on a regular basis—at least every five years, or whenever you’ve gone through a major life change. This can ensure that your will is up to date when it matters most.
Know How to Create a Will
If you’re ready to document your last wishes, knowing how to create a will is essential. Working with an attorney can help ensure that you’ve created a valid document that your beneficiaries can rely on. With a little effort and some hard decisions, you’ll be able to take care of your loved ones long after you’re gone.
Looking for more of the essential tips you need in life? Check out our other posts for additional insights.