How to Write a Will and Steps to Follow
Many of us accumulate various assets and belongings as we go through life, some of which are valuable and others which have more of a sentimental value. Of course, it is lovely to enjoy the things that we have when we are alive and well. However, you also need to think about what will happen to your worldly belongings in the event that you pass away. If you fail to make the necessary arrangements when it comes to your assets and even your wishes then there could be huge issues after your death. These are issues relating to distribution of your assets as well as compliance with your wishes.
Your will is a hugely important document that is designed to ensure that your estate goes to the people you want it to go to when you are no longer around to speak up for yourself. It is also vital in terms of outlining your wishes after your death with regards to important issues such as your estate, your children, even your funeral and organs!
Given the tremendous importance of a will, it is important for anyone who is thinking of making one to think carefully about what they are going to put in the will. You should not rush this – even though you can make changes when you need to, putting plenty of thought into your will is vital.
The Importance Of Writing A Will
You do not have to be wealthy in order to write a will – this is something that everyone should do if they have any assets or even instructions that they want to pass on after their death. A will is a very important legal document and by getting it sorted out properly you can ensure that after your death all of your loved ones are clear about who is getting what as well as about other important issues such as things that you may want certain people to do, from managing your estate to acting as guardian to your children.
It is vital that you make your will for many reasons. This is not just about detailing your wishes about who gets what once you are gone. All sorts of information can go into a will, and this includes:
- Details of who you want to have your belongings and why, which can help to eliminate unpleasantness amongst your loved ones and can avoid unnecessary measures such as probate
- Information such as who you would like to manage your estate, who you would like as guardian of your kids, who you would like to act as trustee to anything you leave to minors, etc.
- Details of anyone you want to exclude from the will who would otherwise automatically get part of your estate as well as details of anyone who would not automatically be entitled but to whom you wish to leave part of your estate
- Information about any provisions you want to make for charitable donations and the like
- Your wishes relating to organ donation
- Your wishes relating to your funeral
These are just some of the things that can go into your will and which can help to provide clarity for those left behind as well as to ensure that your wishes are carried out even when you are gone.
Reasons To Write A Will
There are several key reasons why you should make sure you write a will. This includes:
- Ensuring that you do not leave behind squabbling relatives who all believe that they are entitled to your estate because you did not make your wishes clear
- Making sure that your nearest and dearest are not left high and dry by ensuring that they get part of the estate/all of the estate depending on your wishes
- Making sure that the loved ones left behind are aware of what you want them to do in terms of your estate, your kids if applicable, and other important areas
- Giving you the peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out once you are gone
The First Step To Writing A Will
The first step to writing your will is to think about what you want to put in it. Many people imagine wills to be documents solely relating to wealth and assets but this document can be used to also outline your wishes after your death – for example, who you would like to be executor of your estate or who you want as a guardian for your kids. Some of the important things you need to consider may include:
- Making a list of your assets and belongings
- Deciding who you want your beneficiaries to be
- Working out how your estate should be divided between your chosen beneficiaries
- Deciding whether you want to leave anything to charity
- Ensuring you have made provisions for any dependants
- Who you would like as executor of your will
- Whether you need to appoint a trustee for your kids
- Whether you need to appoint a guardian for your children
- Whether you need estate planning to deal with matter such as insurance policies, debts, taxes etc
There are also other considerations that you need to take into account when you are making your will – considerations relating to other matters aside from your wealth and who you would like to entrust with what. This includes things such as:
- Whether you want to outline any specific funeral arrangements in your will
- Where you want to keep your will and who you will entrust with information about where your will is to be kept
Having a proper checklist such as this in place before you start making your will can help to ensure that you cover all of the important areas in your will rather than leaving things to chance.
Deciding How To Make Your Will
Once you have decided what you want to put in your will, you need to decide how to make your will. First off, it is important that you realise that you do not have to have a lawyer draw up your will for you, even though many people think that this is the case. Your will can be simple and straightforward without any legal jargon required or special stationery needed. What you will need to do, however, is be aware of the formal requirements that relate to the writing of your will. This includes the following:
- The will must be in written format, whether this is hand written or typed
- You need to put your signature at the bottom of the will and it is a good idea to actually sign at the bottom of each page of the document
- You must have two people present to see you sign the document. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries and will also need to sign as your witnesses whilst both present together
If you do decide to use a professional will writing service or lawyer, you should do your research in order to find the most suitable one. You may already have a family lawyer who deals with legal matters for you, in which case you are probably better off sticking with them if you are happy with the services that they provide. However, if you don't have a regular lawyer you need to make sure that you look into which service or law firm you want to use based on a range of factors including cost, reputation and any additional benefits.