Writing a will can be a daunting task for many people. Determining what is to happen with your valuable belongings and thinking about the welfare of your loved ones after you’re gone can be stressful. Perhaps this is the reason why 62% of U.S. citizen ages 45 to 54 have yet to draft a will. It’s important to understand, however, that passing away without a will can have serious consequences for both your family and your estate.
Consequences Of Neglecting To Write A Will
You may have heard the phrase “he (or she) died intestate.” Intestate is the legal term used to describe a person who passed away without having formerly and legitimately written a will.
Normally, if you were married and had children, these loved ones will inherit your assets after you die. If you have young children (under the age of 18) and fail to write a will detailing who will be their guardian, the state will choose a guardian for you. On the other hand, if you are single and have no children, the courts will then determine which relative will inherit your financial assets and your estate.
How To Write A Will in 8 Steps
All in all, having a written will gives you peace of mind - you’ll know that your loved ones will be cared for accordingly and your assets will be properly protected and distributed.
Thankfully, writing a will is a fairly cut-and-dry process. These 8 steps will help you draft your will.
Hire a lawyer or use online software. Unless you, yourself, are certified to write a will, doing it yourself could mean risking thousands of dollars in legal fees and taxes. The rule of thumb is as follows: online software is typically sufficient for middle-class individuals, while upper-middle class and upper-class individuals could benefit from hiring an estate attorney.
Nominate beneficiaries (likely a spouse, child, or sibling) to be the recipient of your money, your home, and other assets. This step is simply to determine who your beneficiaries will be - there will be an official place for you to identify these beneficiaries on the will.
Appoint someone to be responsible for making sure all of your wishes are carried out. This person is called an executor. You can also decide if the executor is to receive any compensation for their time and effort. (Banks and lawyers typically charge between two and four percent of your estate’s assets.)
Choose a guardian if you have minor children. It’s a good idea to request permission from this individual to make sure they won’t turn down the responsibility, which would empower the state to choose a guardian for you.
Make a detailed list of which family members or friends get what. Similarly, if you wish for someone to receive nothing, be sure to note that in your will.
Include letters, notes, or any documents you wish for your loved ones to receive after you’re gone.
Have at least two witnesses sign your will. Generally these witnesses cannot be individuals who intend to inherit any of your assets or estate, and they should be expected to live substantially longer than you.
Put your will in a safe location like a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box at the bank.
Keep in mind that you should try to revisit your will every four to five years to ensure all information is still as you wish.
Find out how safeguarding your assets with a quality life insurance plan can go hand-in-hand with establishing a will. Contact Insurance Center Associates in Torrance, CA today for more information.