Before we even go so far as to encourage you to create a will online, it’s important that you understand why a will is so important. Whether you’re a homeowner, new parent or have any kind of significant assets in general, you should write a will. It’s not too complicated and doesn’t always have to involve a lawyer. There are plenty of ways you can do it online, and most of them take you less than an hour. Here is a simple guide that takes a short amount of time and costs less than $100.
Take Stock of Your Assets
You need to find and take stock of the significant assets that you own. This is easiest to do yourself if your total net worth is less than $2 million. Anything above that and you trigger estate taxes. Because of how high legal fees have become, most people would rather go through this process without the help of a lawyer.
There are, however, cheaper ways to do it online, with some websites walking you through a questionnaire and allowing you to insert your answers for as little as $20. You can also do it with some simple computer software that you download onto your computer. Remember, however, to have services that are tailored to your state laws as each state has different laws governing the writing of wills.
Who Are Your Inheritors?
Preparing your will is more about making some difficult personal decisions that it is about having legal knowledge. One of these decisions is to whom you’ll leave your assets and property. For spouses, for example, there are usually be separate wills, and any jointly held assets are left to the surviving co-owner.
Don’t avoid making a will, even if you live from paycheck to paycheck. It can still help, especially if you have children. If both parents pass away, the children need to be catered for as no one knows who will be responsible for them. They should be protected by a will.
Pick Your Executor and Witnesses
When you produce your will online, it is printed and mailed out to you. You need at least two people to witness you signing your will. They also shouldn’t be any of your heirs. The executor can, however, be an heir.
You should make many copies of the will and place them in separate safe locations. You want them to be where the executor of your will can access it. It’s not a good idea, therefore, to put your will in a safe deposit box. Your executor will likely not be granted access to it. You also don’t need to file it with the court as that only becomes necessary once the will is used. You should, however, tell your children, spouse, executor and general heirs where they can find your will.
There Are Times When You Need a Lawyer
As an intelligent person, if you have no tax issues or a complicated situation, you can create a will online easily. However, there are situations like having property in multiple states belonging to a family business, having stepchildren or marrying more than once that aren’t plain vanilla enough to forget about a lawyer. In such situations, getting a good lawyer is worth every penny.
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