Most adults agree that they should have a last will and testament. Which is odd, considering that most American adults do not have a written will. One principal reason why many people do not have a will is because of the time and costs associated with having this legal document drafted by an attorney. However, what an attorney won’t mention is that you can create your own will for yourself.
What is a DIY Will
A do-it-yourself will is a last will and testament created by the person making the will, also known as the testator. Generally, a DIY will is made with the help of a will kit or online software that allows you to fill in your personal information to have a valid last will and testament created. While there are blank forms that can be found online or at a library and filled in, these are generally rigid and difficult to customize to your specific situation.
Benefits of a DIY will
A will–whether drafted by you or an attorney–allows you to designate who should receive your property after you pass away and designate guardians for your minor children. You can also select your preference for your final arrangements in your last will.
The benefits of creating a DIY will include the low cost, convenience, and time it will save you versus using an attorney. Using a DIY will service can save you thousands of dollars versus having to hire an attorney to accomplish the same task. Moreover, many online do-it-yourself will services allow you to make unlimited changes for a specified time at no extra cost.
Another advantage of a do-it-yourself will kit is the ability to sit down and create your will on your own time. No need to worry about booking an appointment at an inconvenient time or some point in the distant future. With a DIY online will service, you and your loved ones can sit down and create your last wills and testament when you are properly ready and without feeling pressured by an appointment slot or being billed by the hour by an estate planning attorney.
Saving time is also benefit to using a DIY will service to create your last will and testament. While many people assume that it would take hours upon hours to create a last will, using an online do-it-yourself will service can allow someone to make a will in minutes!
Things to consider
Estate planning and probate laws vary from state to state. Creating a will that does not abide by your state’s laws can render the will legally invalid and thus useless. This is why it is important to choose a do-it-yourself will service that takes into account the relevant laws of your particular state.
Depending on your situation, you may want to consider whether a DIY will is right for you. Most DIY will services cannot provide legal advice and do not account for estate tax implications. However, estate taxes do not affect most families as an estate must be worth more than $5 million for estate taxes to apply.
For most families a DIY will service can satisfy all your estate planning needs. With a DIY will you can select multiple beneficiaries for your real estate or other owned properties, account for contingencies, and elect alternate beneficiaries to your property, designate guardians for your minor children, and express your wishes for your final arrangements.
Another important consideration when making a do-it-yourself will is who you want to have carrying out the wishes expressed in your last will and testament, also known as your executor. The executor–known as the personal representative in some states–is the person who will be responsible for making sure your final wishes are carried out in the way you intended. Most people choose a loved one they trust to be their executor as this is a very important role and the executor will likely be the person responsible for contacting the beneficiaries in your will and ensuring that the property is distributed according to your wishes.
Making your will online
Using an online do-it-yourself will service can make it easy, affordable, and even enjoyable to create your last will and testament. More importantly, using an online service to create your will means you can get started today and won’t have to put off creating one of the most important legal documents for your estate plan any longer.
As mentioned previously, state laws governing wills can vary greatly depending on your state of residence. Fortunately, online will services are specifically tailored to the laws of your state so you can rest easy and not have to delve into the specific statutes governing wills in your state.
To get started, all you need is a computer or mobile device. You answer basic questions about yourself, your family, and your wishes, and your customized last will is instantly created at the click of a button. With an online DIY will service, you will describe your situation and assets, then designate beneficiaries who will receive your property once you pass away.
How to sign your will
Similar to the contents of the last will itself, the signing of your will is governed by the laws in your particular state. In most states, a last will and testament is not valid unless it is signed by the person making the will as well as two witnesses who must sign in each other’s presence. It’s also a good idea to have your last will typed up as many states do not accept handwritten wills.