You may know the need of one, but you aren’t sure how to write your will. Here you’ll have to decide whether or not you’re willing to write it yourself. Though you can create a will of your own, yet there are certain aspects of it that are best handled by an expert.

Is a basic will sufficient?

If you meet the below discussed criteria, then a basic will is all that you would need:

  • You’re age is below 50.
  • You’re fit and healthy.
  • You’re confident of owing no estate tax at the time of your death.

Alternatively, if these situations apply to you, then it’s high time you’ve got a proper, working will in place:

  • You may owe estate tax when you die or when your spouse does.
  • You want to decide the fate of your property after your death. For instance, you want to leave a portion of your property for your grandchildren and some for your own children.
  • Your child is disabled or requires special care for whom you want to have a good estate plan in place.
  • You fear conflict between the children from your ex-spouse and that of your current spouse.
  • You doubt that someone may challenge your will and may claim that you were insane while drafting the will, or may the will was created fraudulently.

DIY: Writing a Will yourself

If you want to write the will on your own, then you may need some help to do so. This way you’ll know what terms and conditions to put into the will and how to make it legally binding on all the concerned parties.

Will Templates

Your first task would be to choose a tool to assist you in writing down your will. You may consult books to learn about about the will clauses, or else, you may use a software program to help you put the bits and pieces together for you.

Still, you’ll have to get a typed will, even if handwritten ones are accepted in certain states. This is because formal, typed documents are less likely to be challenged after your death. There are many will tools but choose the one you can rely.

Some of them are as follows:

  • Flatforms - In this kind of will making tool, you can fill in the given blanks with your own content in a word processor.
  • Statutory forms - These forms are already written as per the laws of some selected number of states.
  • Will books - Generally, these books would be a good source of detailed instructions to fill out the platforms, besides providing estate planning help.
  • Will software - You’ll have to reply to a questionnaire and the software will create a will for you based on the answers you’ve provided.
  • Online will programs – These programs work like will software. However, instead of loading the program on the computer, you make your will online.

Regardless of your choice of will making tool, you should make sure that it comes with clear and easy-to-understand instructions. Doing so, will make you feel confident that the will works as per your plan.

Things include in your will

There is no specific language to create a will. Best wills are those that distinctly reflect the will maker’s wishes. What you should include will be decided on what you expect your will to do for you. Besides, distributing your property after you die, your will may also perform the following tasks:

  • Your executor’s name.
  • Assign guardians for your children and their properties.
  • Spell out how to pay off debts and taxes.
  • Allocate funds for pets.
  • Serve as a backup for a living trust.

Here are some blunders that you should avoid at all costs in your will:

  • Having conditions on your gifts. (I give my house to Susan if she graduates out of college.)
  • Plan for final arrangements.
  • Allocate a piece of your property in your pet’s name.

How to make your will legal

After you use a will template to write your will, you’ll need to do a few things to make it legal:

  • Sign your will.
  • Have two witnesses sign your will.
  • In most states, have a notary sign a self-proving affidavit – this is optional.

There’s no need for the witnesses to know the content of your will. You need to gather them, announce that you’ve created a will of your own and simply ask them to sign. You don’t require a notary to sign your will and make it legal. Still, you can have a self-proving affidavit signed by notary and attach it with your will. Self-proving affidavits don’t have any role in making your will legal and binding, but they can make the process of probate a lot easier after your death.

Let a lawyer write your will

If you consider your situation to be too complex to handle and you want a professional’s help instead, then you may work with a lawyer. Here, you can educate yourself about the entire process so that you can reduce the amount you’ll spend as the lawyer’s fees as well as control what's being included in your will.

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