Writing a last will and testament isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s easy to find the correct format for a last will and testament with a quick Google search. Besides that, all you need is just a bit of careful planning and you’ll be able to map out the exact details for how your assets and finances should be distributed after you’re gone.
Not sure how to get started? This checklist is designed to help you cover most, if not all, of your bases.
Deciding Who Gets to Be Your Child’s Guardian
For parents, this is the most important decision they’ll make when writing a Will: naming a guardian who’ll look after their children.
With a last will and testament, you can name a guardian for children under the age of 18. This way, if you pass away when they’re still minor, the Will decides who will look after your children. For obvious reasons, this is important. Without a Last Will, the laws of your state will govern what happens to your child. In most cases, they will go to your partner or relative, such as a spouse or a sibling.
Some people would rather not have this arrangement for reasons they know best. A Last Will makes sure that the recipients follow your wishes.
Name an Executor
This person will handle your estate and all provisions laid down in your will.
It is important to make sure that the executor is competent when it comes to handling finances and also confirm that they’re accepting the responsibility.
Pro tip: You may want to have an alternate executor in case your first choice becomes incapacitated or can’t serve for whatever reason.
Deciding What Happens to Your Assets
A last will and testament makes it relatively simple to leave assets to your loved ones. It’s easy to create a Will online. You can describe which person inherits which property, just make sure to describe the property in a way that leaves little room for ambiguity and misinterpretation. For instance, if you’re passing down a vehicle to a child, make sure to specify the color and model of the vehicle, as well as the name of the child who gets ownership.
Last Wills and Testaments also let you distribute heirlooms, cash, and even bank accounts. This isn’t the case with a Trust because they require you to first transfer ownership and once you pass away, the trust gets distributed. For many individuals, it’s an extra unnecessary step that they would rather avoid, especially if it’s an asset that they regularly use, such as a checking account or their car.
What Happens to Your Pets?
When writing a Last Will, you can also plan what happens to your pets. If you don’t include them in your will, your pet may suffer, starve, or be destined to a fate that you would never want them to have.
However, you have to be cognizant of the fact that the pet’s new owner may not want to keep them because of various reasons, including allergies, lack of time, conflict with other obligations, or restrictions in their place of residence. To prevent this, you can draft a legally enforceable will that provides for the pet after your death.
When you write a will, you should also make note of who will care for your animals and where they’ll get the money from.
Nowadays, it is almost impossible to not have a social media account, at the very least. If so, does our spouse or better half know the password to it?
Most people have digital assets and will want to make sure their heirs inherit them without any problems. This definitely applies if the digital assets in question also generate revenue, i.e. an online business. You can also leave instructions for your executor to close specific accounts or destroy certain files. This means you’ll have to provide them with your log-in credentials to help them with this task.
A simple will probably isn’t enough to include these instructions. However, a last will and testament can include all the instructions you believe are necessary.
Real Property applies to assets such as houses and buildings as opposed to digital items. Transferring these properties is more difficult than simply leaving heirlooms for a friend. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Since real estate properties are a slightly more complicated matter, we strongly recommend getting in touch with an attorney before you include them in your last will and testament. They may ask you to create a Trust, depending on your current situation.
7. Making the Last Will and Testament Legally Binding
To make your last will legally binding, you’ll have to follow the exact requirements of your state. In most cases, however, you’ll need to be of sound mind when you make the will. You must also have at least two people become witnesses to it.
Once you have drafted your last will and made sure it complies with your state’s laws, it’s time to store it somewhere safe and let your loved ones know where to find it.
On a separate note, make it a habit to regularly review your will at least once a year or after every major life-changing event (marriage, the birth of a child, divorce, and so on). In most cases your preferences for what happens to your wealth and assets will change over time. Make sure you add these these changes to your Will.
About US Will Registry
The US Will Registry lets you register your Will for a one-time, lifetime-fee of $29.95. This permanently solves a common problem with most Wills: no one knows where to find a copy and the testator has passed and not able to assist in this critical matter.
The US Will Registry allows the public and attorneys to register a Will ‘s location on the cloud and makes it accessible so that your loved ones can find it when needed. It’s a reliable source and will avoid costly family and legal issues. It will also give you and your loved ones peace of mind when they need it the most.
Register your Will today and use the Promo Code: Reg2021 at checkout to get a flat 50% off.