A will is a crucial document that serves as a sort of road map to your affairs after your death. It’s your last chance to express your wishes as it pertains to your estate and the people who will benefit or be impacted by your death. Though it’s not always cheerful to think of, it’s something you should seriously consider. Drawing up a will doesn’t have to be scary or complicated. Read on to find out how to draw up a will with ease.
Step 1: Make a List of Your Assets
The first step in making a will is understanding your estate—what you own. If you have large assets, such as a house, stocks, bonds, or other investments, it’s important to make a comprehensive list of these items and how much they’re worth. Even if you don’t consider yourself wealthy, you may own more than you think. This includes smaller assets, like bank accounts, cars, furniture, jewelry, collections, and other valuables that you’ll want to pass on.
Step 2: Decide How Your Assets Will Be Divided Up
Once you have a complete list of your assets, you’ll need to decide how they will be divided up after you’re gone. You should consider who you want to benefit from your escitate and if you want to leave any particular portion of your assets to any charities or public organizations. It’s recommended that you create a rough draft of this first and then adjust it as needed.
Step 3: Find a Lawyer to Help You Create a Legal Will Document
It’s important to make sure that your will is a legal document that is valid in the eyes of the law so it’s essential to hire a lawyer to draft your will. A lawyer can guide you through the legal process and make sure that all of your wishes are reflected in the document. Furthermore, lawyers can provide guidance and make sure that your estate is distributed exactly as you would like.
Step 4: Create a List of Beneficiaries
It’s essential to create a list of beneficiaries for your will so that you can specify who should receive each item in your estate. It’s important to also include small items, such as furniture, jewelry, and clothing so that they don’t end up with strangers. It’s also wise to create a list of alternates, in case of contingencies.
Step 5: Update Your Will Regularly
Life doesn’t stand still and neither should your will. You should update your will regularly to account for changes in your life, such as marriage, divorce, new children, or major changes in your estate. This is the best way to ensure that your affairs are handled as you wish, even if your circumstances change.
Step 6: Store Your Will Securely
The last step in drawing up a will is making sure that it is safely stored and easily accessible after you’ve passed away. You should choose a safe password-protected storage system and share that information with a trusted family member or friend. This way, your will will be easily accessible when the time comes.
Step 7: Make Sure to Get Witness Signatures
It’s also important to make sure that your will is signed by two witnesses. The witnesses must be people who can attest to your signature, such as family members or close friends. This will ensure that your will is valid and can be enforced when the time comes.
Step 8: Be Aware of Changes in Tax Laws
Finally, it’s important to be aware of any changes in tax laws that could affect how your estate is taxed. If you’re not familiar with these laws, it’s a good idea to speak to an accountant or lawyer before finalizing your will. They can advise you on any changes that need to be made to ensure that your estate is taxed correctly.
Step 9: Have your Will Professionally Reviewed
It’s always a good idea to have your will professionally reviewed to make sure there are no errors or oversights. A lawyer can do this, and they will be able to suggest changes or additions if needed. This is a small investment that can prevent costly errors later.
Step 10: Sign Your Will
Once everything is finalized, you should sign your will in front of two witnesses. This is the most important step, as this is what makes the document legally binding. This is why it’s important to be completely sure of your wishes before signing.
Drawing up a will doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated. By following these steps, you can make sure that your wishes are followed. Be sure to update your will regularly, in order to account for any changes in your life, assets, and estate.