When I was a little kid, I was a bit of a snoop. And on one such snooping occasion through my father’s office, I came across my parent’s will. It was in the top drawer of his desk, in a white envelope with the label “WILL” on it. And although I didn’t open it – I had to find out what a “will” was all about. And, when I did, I was saddened to realize that one day my parents wouldn’t be around. At the same time, I felt comforted by the envelope and its contents. I sensed they cared enough for my brother and I to think ahead to when they may not be around for us.
After the discovery, I soon drafted my own will. I think I probably had about $20 to my name, my favorite set of golf clubs and my pet hamster, Skeezer to bequeath.
When should a will be written?
The Bible speaks about being prepared. And, it also speaks to the unpredictability that surrounds our life.
According to an AARP survey, 2 out of 5 folks over the age of 45 do not have a will. And you can imagine that figure to be higher for those younger.
So when is a good time to write a will? Here are a few questions for you to answer first:
- Do you have family and close friends?
- Do you have any type of asset?
- Would you like to be in control of your where your assets end up when you pass away?
If you’ve answered yes to any or all of these – now is the time to write a will.
How do I go about writing a will?
Thinking about and planning for our own mortality is never high on the weekly to-do list. We all like to keep our minds busy with the task at hand and there always seems to be plenty in daily life to occupy us.
But writing a will doesn’t have to be time-consuming. And, it’s easier than you probably think.
In the age of the internet, there are plenty of resources to help you out. Among those is LegalZoom.com. This site walks you through the process of writing tedious legal documents – including creating a will. And, it’s much cheaper than paying lawyer’s fees (which can start at $500/hr). LegalZoom can help you organize your will for as low as $69.
Before writing a will, you’ll want to have gathered the following:
- Main beneficiaries
- A list of all assets
- A desired Executor (person who executes your stated wishes)
- A person who will care for your children should you and/or your spouse pass
- A designated witness (or a “disinterested witness” – someone who is not included in the will)
One thing to keep in mind as you begin writing a will is that each state has its own probate laws (probate is the process of transferring property of a deceased person to heirs). So, you may need to be sure that your will adheres to your states rules.
Also, it’s suggested that you will want to update your will every 2 or 3 years. But, this depends on your situation and life events that may transpire. For example, if you get married – you’ll want to create an entirely new will. Likewise, if a benefactor dies or you gain more wealth/assets – you‘ll want another update.
While a will may not seem urgent to you if you are young and healthy – we’ve all been witnesses to life’s fragility. Creating a will can give you peace of mind – as well as your loved ones who will be left behind to grieve your passing.
If you need a will, don’t put it off! Get started today!