A last will and testament can be one of the most important documents you ever sign. Your will determines who inherits what you own when you pass away. If you don’t have a will in place, the government in the state you reside determines who shares in your estate. Making a will does not have to be difficult or expensive. The following are three easy steps to completing your will.
Step 1: Start thinking about what and who matters to you
Who would you want to leave your estate to when you pass away? Do you want to leave your estate equally to children or to a list of specific beneficiaries? If you wish to leave particular assets to people, make a list of what those assets are and who will receive them. Also give some thought as to who you will designate to settle your estate when you pass away, often referred to as your executor. And if you have, or will have, minor children, think about who you’d like to raise them if you pass away before your children reach the age of majority.
Step 2: Get your will done now, even if you’re unsure (you can always change later)
Whether you work with an attorney or use an online guide, answer all of the questions that are asked of you so that your will can be customized to meet your specific needs. If you get stuck on a question, answer it with your first impression - you can always go back and change your answers, or even write a new will, later.
Step 3: Make it official
Make sure you sign your will by following the appropriate signing instructions for residents of your state. Your will is not valid unless you follow the requirements necessary such as having a notary or witnesses present for your signature. Secure your will in a safe location and let your executor know of its existence and location.
Due to life’s uncertainty, it’s important to create your first will as you start accumulating assets. And because life circumstances change over time, it’s wise to revisit your will and update it annually and upon certain major life events. This preplanning will greatly assist family members and loved ones by giving them the means to carry out your wishes without unnecessary hassle or conflict.