Writing a will may seem overwhelming, but everyone should do it. A common misconception is that only wealthy people should bother creating a will, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, according to USA.gov. In the past, the standard way to plan an estate was to hire an attorney to walk you through the legalese and document filing. However, thanks to the Internet, there are reliable ways around spending a lot of money to plan or update your will. Having a will is important because although death is inevitability no one wants to think about, having a will takes the pressure off your loved ones when it comes time to divvy up your assets. Using online legal services can make the process affordable and accessible, so there’s no need to avoid creating one. Taking stock of your estate and assets may seem daunting, but breaking the process down into a few essential elements can make it more manageable. A will is really just a comprehensive plan that legally ensures your wishes after death, and preparing one doesn’t have to be a great mystery.
A Dependable Executor
The first step when writing your will is to choose a dependable executor. An executor is someone who will be responsible for taking inventory of your property and belongings, distributing assets, paying taxes and settling your debts, according to USA.gov. The individual you choose must be over 18 and not have any history of felony convictions. Although these parameters may seem basic, the role of an executor is very important. You should choose someone who you trust and is both organized and capable, since he or she will be implementing your last wishes. The person you appoint should also be someone who doesn’t have any interest in leaning in a particular direction should disputes come up. Unfortunately, deaths can sometimes lead to arguments over assets. If your will clearly describes your intentions and identifies those to whom you want to bequeath certain things, it’s up to the executor to stay true to your intentions. A good quality in an executor, if you have a more complex will or a large family, is someone who can be firm in carrying out your wishes.
Sweat the Small Stuff
There are lots of assets you have that you may not think of as an asset at first. Many common assets, such as joint bank accounts or home ownership, will automatically go to the joint partner, according to lawyer Mary Randolph at WomansDay. She advises, however, to pay attention to possessions that don’t have default beneficiaries in place. You may own personal property that’s valuable, sentimental or both. For example, if you have a family heirloom, it may not have monetary value, but it could carry serious emotional weight. This is a scenario where you want to clearly outline to whom or where the item should go. You can also consider having smaller possessions like jewelry, artwork or other items of potential value formally appraised to accurately decide how to bequeath those assets. Take an inventory of these types of things early on, and make sure your executor is aware of what they are.
Updates Are as Important as the Original
Once you finish writing a will, that doesn’t mean that it’s done. You should consider your will a living document that can change until you pass away. Signing up for an online legal service is both a great way to create the document in the first place, but it’s also an efficient way to keep it updated. You can read LegalZoom Reviews, for example, to find out how suited the services they offer will fit your needs. For example, if a beneficiary has changed due to death, if you’ve gone through a marriage or a divorce, or if other life events occur that will impact how your assets are divided after death, you’ll need to update your will, Randolph advises.LegalZoom offers a wide variety of support services that can make updating your will simple, without the cost of a high-priced attorney. Creating the original document itself involves the most work, but you’ll need further legal advice if something major changes. Many people can’t afford to visit an attorney every time they need their will updated. Investing in a reasonably priced online legal service can save you a lot of money and ensure peace of mind.
Assets of the 21st Century: Social Media
A will is not only in place to make sure that your assets are dispersed accordingly. It is also there to ensure that all your wishes are carried out after your death. Assets are typically things thought of as being physical and having monetary or emotional value. However, in the information age, there’s now more to it than that. Most people have social media profiles online, whether it’s an e-mail address or accounts on a social networking site. You can stipulate in your will what will become of these accounts, including what can be posted n them or if they should be left dormant, according to USA.gov. The executor you choose will ensure that the tangible assets described in your will are properly passed on to others and will also enact your wishes about your social media profiles.