Jasper L. Edwards
It may not be a pleasant thought, but everyone needs to make a will. Although your estate might go to the right person in the end (that is, the person you would have chosen yourself), it's a much longer process without a will, and it might be that the person you would really like to inherit doesn’t receive anything at all.
The only way to ensure that your estate is split in the way you want it to be, and to make sure that happens as quickly as the law allows, is to have a will – up to date and valid – in place. Once it’s done, you won’t have to think about it again, and it doesn’t have to be a complicated process; neither does it have to cost you a lot. In fact, you can make a free will online as long as your estate is a simple one. Read on for more information.
Find an Online Template
Although handwritten (holographic) wills might be recognized in your state, they aren’t valid everywhere, and to be completely sure your will is going to be executed in the way you want, it’s best to have a typed version. Luckily, you can find a variety of different free online will templates to help you, and all you need to do once you’ve found the template that suits your needs, is to fill in the boxes with the right information.
Having a free online will template means that you won’t accidentally be able to forget any important element of your will, as you’ll be prompted by each section to include the relevant information.
Make a List of Your Assets
If you want to leave your assets to your chosen heirs, you need to know what assets you have; you won’t be able to include them in your will if you’re not aware of them or you’ve forgotten about them, or if you don’t know all the details. Before you start completing your free will form, make a list of all your most significant assets (you don’t have to list absolutely everything you own). The list should include property, land, vehicles, bank accounts, jewelry, and any significant artwork. You don’t need to include your life insurance, as this is a separate matter. Remember, if you own any assets jointly with someone else, you won’t be able to bequeath them in your will, and they will usually automatically pass to the other owner or owners.
Now you know what you have to bequeath, you can start writing the will itself. You must be specific, as the will will be executed exactly as you have written it, and any confusion will delay matters, possibly for some time. By specific we mean using full names, for example. Rather than saying you want your jewelry to go to your daughter, write your daughter’s name (even if you only have one). You can also include any preferences you might have about your funeral here. It’s a good idea to have some idea of what you want, as this will help your loved ones when they are trying to arrange your funeral; if the big decisions have already been made, they don’t have so much to think about.
It’s crucial that you list an executor in your will. The executor is the person who will be responsible for distributing your assets to the appropriate beneficiaries, but they will also need to pay off any debts and deal with probate. Being an executor is not an easy task, especially if they are working full-time as well, and it’s a good idea to check with them first to ensure they are happy to take on the role. If it’s easier, you can name more than one person as executor.
Finally, once everything is as you want it, you simply have to print the will and sign it in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the will. Usually, the witnesses cannot also be beneficiaries. Once this is done, you need to keep the will in a safe place. Make sure at least one person knows where it is so there is no need to search for it once you pass away.