Making a will isn’t morbid. Planning for the future, even when you’re young, is a way to think about your loved ones now. You can change and expand your will as the years go on, but simply starting one will help you think about which possessions you would give to whom; it helps you lay out how you value those close to you. Plus, you can do it pretty easily and inexpensively online.
If you don’t take the time to write your will and something does happen to you (again, remind yourself, this isn’t morbid!), then the government will decide what to do with your property. We know that you’d rather make those decisions yourself.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Make Your Wishes (And Will) Complete.
First, know your state’s laws. For example, while most states require only two witnesses, neither of whom should be beneficiaries, while some require three. Second, make sure that you include all the necessary information. This list of points to remember is a great starting place.
2. Lawyer Optional.
Most people can usually get away with a do-it-yourself will. However, if you have a high net worth and are worried that your will might be contested, consider going the professional route.
3. Keep It Current.
Update your will whenever you make a life change, like marriage, having a baby, or moving. Make sure to indicate in each draft that you are revoking all other versions. Bonus: Having multiple wills that establish a pattern of your wishes will help if your final will is ever contended.
4. Name An Executor.
Unlike witnesses, it’s okay for the executor to be a benefactor; a trusted family member, friend, or attorney will do just fine. Discuss your will and your wishes with him or her. This is the person who must locate the other beneficiaries of your will, close out your credit cards and other accounts, get your bank accounts, and generally fulfill your last wishes.
5. Make Extra Copies.
Make several copies of your will and keep them in a safe place. Make sure that your executor has access to them.
Now, Draft The Will Itself.
If you want to make a will yourself, there are plenty of online options. Though most aren’t free, they are fairly inexpensive, starting around $15. Here are a few with good reviews:
-Suze Orman Will & Trust Kit ($13.50)
-Quicken WillMaker Plus ($40)