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Legal Will Basics

So you're ready to create your Legal Will: you've done some thinking about what will happen after you pass, and you want to make sure your heirloom diamond ring goes to your granddaughter and that your first edition books go to your niece. With a Legal Will, you can do all this, and reduce your family's legal costs and the potential for disagreements about your wishes. Without a legal will, the courts decide where everything goes and who cares for your children.

Use the Legal Will document if:

  • You want your property, including Digital Assets, (see below) to go to someone in particular after your death.
  • You want to communicate who will get your property after your death (like a family member or charity).
  • You want to have a say in who will make sure your wishes are followed.
  • You want to specify who will look after your children if the other parent can't.
  • Note: If your estate is going to be bigger than $5,340,000—the federal estate tax exemption amount--your legal will should probably just be used for general planning. A lawyer can help with more complicated wills and estate plans.
  • Digital Assets: This broad category can include any type of online account or files (like songs or documents) stored on computers and servers. Examples of what you can add to your legal will include: email accounts, blogs, social-networking sites, online backup programs, photo and document-sharing sites, financial accounts for personal or business, domain names of web sites, virtual property, and other computer files.

A legal will—also known as a complete will or last will and testament—describes how you want your property, accounts, digital assets, child care, and more to be be dealt with after your death. You'll also choose an executor to make sure your wishes are carried out. You can use this complete will template whether you're married or single, with or without children.


Sample Legal Will

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Legal Will Basics

A legal will—also known as a complete will or last will and testament—describes how you want your property, accounts, digital assets, child care, and more to be be dealt with after your death. You'll also choose an executor to make sure your wishes are carried out. You can use this complete will template whether you're married or single, with or without children.

Use the Legal Will document if:
  • You want your property, including Digital Assets, (see below) to go to someone in particular after your death.
  • You want to communicate who will get your property after your death (like a family member or charity).
  • You want to have a say in who will make sure your wishes are followed.
  • You want to specify who will look after your children if the other parent can't.
  • Note: If your estate is going to be bigger than $5,340,000—the federal estate tax exemption amount--your legal will should probably just be used for general planning. A lawyer can help with more complicated wills and estate plans.
  • Digital Assets: This broad category can include any type of online account or files (like songs or documents) stored on computers and servers. Examples of what you can add to your legal will include: email accounts, blogs, social-networking sites, online backup programs, photo and document-sharing sites, financial accounts for personal or business, domain names of web sites, virtual property, and other computer files.
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