It’s not something we like to think about, but we all need a will to make sure our loved ones know what our legacy will be. I know it doesn’t sound like a fun activity, but making a will is important, and no matter how young you are, it ought to be done now. Here are the 7 steps for making your will.
1. Think It through
Before you commit to paper, think about what you have and who you want to enjoy it later. Think about who you want to execute your will, and why. Consider all of your assets, too, not just the obvious cash and investments. Feel free to take notes, and think about this for a long time, like a few weeks.
2. Make a List
Once you’ve had a few weeks to think about everything, make lists, and edit them. Revise them for the next couple of weeks, and then start committing to a serious list more like a will.
3. Choose an Executor
Now you need to consider who you trust enough to execute your will. This person needs to be mature, and ready to spend some time on the project. This is the person who will make sure the wishes you’ve willed will be carried out.
4. Choose Witnesses
Wills must be witnessed to be legal, so consider too who you will want to be your witnesses. You’ll need two of them, and often, one will be your attorney. Your witnesses ought to be 18 years of age or older, and shouldn’t be your executor.
5. Get Legal
Once you have your will made, and have chosen your executor and witnesses, it’s time to get legal. Find an attorney who specializes in wills, and have him or her draw up the will according to your wishes. Make sure it’s exactly what you want, then have your witnesses sign it. Now it’s legal.
6. Keep It Safe
Once you have your will drawn up and legal, be sure to keep it in a safe place, and make sure your executor knows where it is. Your attorney ought to keep a copy of it, too. A good place to keep your will is in a safe deposit box, or at least a fireproof document keeper at home… a bad place to keep it is in a random non-fireproof box under your bed.
7. Update It
The way you’d make a will now is likely not the same way you’d make a will in ten years — which is why it’s important to update your will every now and again, or at least review it to make sure it’s still current. It’s a good idea to update or review your will every five or six years, or after a major life event, like the birth of a child, a marriage, or a divorce.
Honestly, the hardest part of making a will is getting started, but once you’ve done all of the thinking, the will itself is easy, and you’ll gain a lot of peace of mind from having it done and legal. So don’t delay! Get your will started today… or, if you already have a will in place, maybe you have some tips to share? What would you recommend the make the process painless?
Top Photo Credit: Abme89107