Few are comfortable envisioning what happens after we pass away. It's a topic that we often mentally set aside, thinking that we can always come back to it when the time is right. However, pre-planning is one of the most responsible things that you can do for yourself and your loved ones. Creating a will ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, rather than immediately going through the complicated process of probate. In this blog, we will discuss why creating a will is essential and provide a step-by-step guide on how to navigate the process.
While many people believe that creating a will is strictly for those who possess significant assets, that isn't the case. Even if you don't have many assets, having a will is important. Without a will, your assets will be distributed through the legal system and may not go to the people you intended. It's also worth considering that in the event of your death, your loved ones will be going through an emotionally difficult time, and a will makes the process much less stressful for them. Creating a will can save your loved ones extensive probate costs, long settlement times, and consequently avoid familial disputes by preparing a clear will (Solomon, Steiner & Beck, Ltd., 2015).
There are multiple routes you can take when creating a will. You may choose to use an online will service like Willful that offers an affordable and user-friendly interface. Willful is a great place to start for those looking to save time and experience added convenience when drafting a will for the first time. For those with more complex estates, such as those with expansive assets or owners of businesses, it may be beneficial to use a lawyer or attorney for professional advice (Crail, 2021). If you’re confident in your legal understanding and writing abilities, you may also choose to draft your own will using a reputable template, ensuring that it complies with the legal requirements in your area.
When creating a will independently, it’s important to use a verified will template that includes all necessary requirements for legal validity (Crail, 2021). Be sure to include your full name and a statement that the document is in fact your final will and testament. Without a proper organizational structure, your will may not be valid and your wishes could be left up for interpretation when your loved ones begin the settlement process (Bregman, 2022).
Before starting the will drafting process, you need to take stock of your assets, including bank accounts, investments, properties, and any personal belongings (Paulus, 2022). Once all assets are accounted for, decide who should receive them after your passing (Crail, 2021). Your beneficiaries can be anyone you choose, including family members, friends, and charitable organizations.
For those with children who are minors, it is vital that you choose a guardian that would be responsible for full legal and physical custody. Be specific about the distribution of your estate to avoid any legal disputes amongst your loved ones. Adding a residuary clause allows for any unlisted assets to be designated to a specific beneficiary or to the executor for further distribution.
An executor is responsible for carrying out the legal and financial matters of your estate after your death. This includes following your intentions set in the will, managing your assets, paying off debts, and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. It’s important to choose someone who is trustworthy, responsible, and capable of handling these tasks (Crail, 2021). This may be a family member, friend, or a legal professional. If possible, designate a back-up in case your chosen executor is unable to perform their duties.
Once you have organized your assets, determined your beneficiaries, and designated an executor, you are able to begin drafting your will. Follow the steps in your template and work with a professional if you have any questions. After the necessary content is included, you must have your will signed by the correct number of witnesses and in some cases, notarized. For more information, see our recent blog discussing the legitimacy of online wills.
If you are seeking additional guidance during the will drafting process, use Willful. Their expert team is eager to assist with easily accessible support by phone, live chat, or email. With Willful, you can rest assured that your will is efficiently and accurately completed, all while sustaining your legacy for years to come.
It is crucial to review and update your will regularly, especially after significant life events such as marriage, divorce, the addition of a child, or the loss of a loved one (Crail, 2021). Failure to update your will may result in unnecessary or now irrelevant actions being taken. Be sure to store a physical copy of your current will in a safe and secure place. Don’t forget to let your executor know where it is located (Paulus, 2022).
Creating a will may seem daunting, but it's one of the most important things that you can do for yourself and your loved ones. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, using a professionally verified service or template, and seeking advice when needed, you can make sure that your legacy is protected. With the help of Cadence and their partnership with Willful, you can rest assured that the process will be seamless and convenient to meet your needs.
Are you looking to get started on your pre-planning journey? Cadence is offering 10% off any Willful plan. Don’t wait to prepare, sign up for Willful today!
Bregman, R. (2022, August 5). Why is drafting a Will important? Aspects you need to consider. Insights into the Law in South Africa | Welcome to Go Legal. https://www.golegal.co.za/drafting-will-executor/ Crail, C. (2021, December 6). How To Write A Will Without A Lawyer. Forbes Advisor. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/how-to-write-a-will/ Paulus, N. (2022, July 5). Ultimate Guide to Wills And Why They Are Important. MoneyGeek.com. https://www.moneygeek.com/insurance/life/setting-up-a-will/ Solomon, Steiner & Beck, Ltd. (2015, July 30). The importance of drafting a will - Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd. Www.ssandplaw.com. https://www.ssandplaw.com/blog/importance-of-drafting-will/