Are you looking to write a Will, also known as a complete will or simple will, but don’t know where to begin? In some states, a will is also known as a legal will or last will and testament. Many people put off creating their Will, even though it can provide peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out.
Writing a last will doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. In fact, a last will is simply a written way for you to state your desires for what happens to your property and children after your death and avoid any confusion or familial disputes. Our online interview helps you write your last will simply and easily — all you have to do is answer questions about your situation and wishes, and your answers are used to complete your personalized will.
Here are a few things you'll want to keep in mind when you write your will:
When you’re writing your last will, you’ll first need to designate your beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries are the people that will receive your property. These are normally your spouse, children, other relatives, and close friends. You can also make any special bequests regarding any digital assets you own. You’ll indicate who will receive your estate and specified possessions.
Appoint an Executor
Choosing an executor is an important part of writing your last will. Your executor will carry out your wishes concerning the legal and financial matters of your estate. With that kind of power, it’s a good idea to pick someone who is good with numbers and organized. It’s probably better to look for those qualities rather than the person who is closest to you. We have a more detailed article about how to appoint a will executor, with information about multiple executors, the type of person you should look for, and some other important factors you should keep in mind.
Pick a Guardian for Your Children
You’ll also want to make sure your children are taken care of when writing your Will, which means picking a guardian. In most cases, your spouse will receive most of your assets and will provide financially for your children, but you may want to separate the provisions for your children, in case something were to happen to your spouse.
Sign Your Will with Witnesses
In order for your last will to be valid, it must be signed, and you must be of legal age and mentally competent. You also need witnesses' signatures attesting that you knew what you were signing. Restrictions on who can witness a will---as well as if it will need to be notarized---vary across the country, so be sure to check with your state.
Changing Your Will
Remember, you can change your last will with a codicil, or even write a new will at any time. If you do choose to write a new will, the first clause will revoke any prior wills.
The first step to creating a solid, effective estate plan is writing a last will. Create your will today.