Want to know what to include in a will? Here are 7 things every single will needs to have, whether you create it at home or have it done by a lawyer.
I think it goes without saying that most people recognize their need for a will.
The primary purpose of a will to distribute any property you own in the event of your death.
It can also legally specify different provisions that can be made with regards to guardians for your children and the naming of your executor for example.
Even though you don’t HAVE to hire a lawyer to organize your will, you do need to follow particular rules in order to make it legally binding.
In many instances, we can get away with having a very simple will.
Yes, a sophisticated will can be expensive to create and to execute but it doesn’t mean it will accomplish anything more than a simple will could have done.
A very basic will is acceptable if your health is acceptable, you’re under the age of 50 and your net worth is low enough that estate taxes aren’t an issue.
A more sophisticated will is however necessary if the above conditions aren’t met.
Of course if you want more control over the dispersion of your assets, a more detailed will is necessary.
This will also be important if you believe a prior spouse may be an issue, or if your children and current spouse don’t get along.
Regardless of your state of residence, several things should be part of a well-written will:
1 – A description of yourself.
This description must be detailed enough to be clear regarding your identity.
The will must clearly be your will and not possibly someone elses.
Avoid any confusion.
2 – Your executor.
Someone has to carry out the instructions of your will. Include a backup, just in case. It goes without saying that it should be someone you trust.
It can be a good friend, family member, or your attorney.
3 – A list of your beneficiaries.
Normally, this would include your spouse, children, and any institutions or charities you wish to leave part or all of your estate to.
It can also include non-family members.
4 – The distribution of your assets.
This can be as simple or detailed as you’d like.
You can give your tools to your brother, your book collection to your sister, and your jewellery to your daughter.
5 – Instructions for the care of any minor children.
Whom do you want to care for your kids if both you and your spouse are gone?
Ensure the other party agrees with this arrangement!
6 – Choose someone to handle your children’s property.
An underage child will require a property custodian.
Specify this information in your will.
7 – Ensure that the will is signed in front of at least two witnesses.
Getting your will notarized is always a good idea, but usually not required.
Use witnesses you trust.
All that’s left to do is to find a good place to store your will.
Ensure that your executor knows the location and can access your will.
Itâ’ a good idea to keep copy in a different location, just in case.
If you don’t have a will, you can create one for as little as $20-$100 online.
Avoid handwriting a will, as it often causes challenges later on.
You can also buy a standard will and testament on ready-made forms sold in stores.
I do recommend investing a small sum of money to ensure that your estate is handled according to your wishes.
An hour with a qualified attorney isn’t always necessary, but at the same time it isn’t a bad idea.
In the end, it is smart to ensure that your assets are passed along to the right people as you see fit.
Remember without a will, the government will distribute your assets for you in accordance with the laws of your state.
So if you have any concern about this create a simple will this week.
It doesn’t have to a complex or difficult task to action and once you do it, it will give you so much peace of mind.