Planning for the Future: Writing a Will

A lot of people think that writing a will is only something that older people do. However, if you have a family or even an asset like a house, then writing a will should be a priority for you. It is all about ensuring that your family and your interests are protected. Having a will is the only way that you can ensure that your wishes are going to be heeded. 

A Background on Wills

Most people are familiar with a will in one capacity or another. In essence, a will is simply a legal document like a contract that describes how you want your assets to be dealt with in the event of your death. In order to ensure that your will is valid, it needs to be signed by yourself and often witnessed or notarised by the relevant authority to prove that you wrote it of your own free will and that you weren’t coerced in any way. 

What Should I Put in My Will?

Truthfully, you do have some leniency as to what you should include in your will. It can be as short or as long as you like, as simple or complex. Bear in mind that creating a short, simple will might be easier, but it is likely to leave some room for ambiguity which could mean that your wishes are not properly heeded.

For the most part, a will simply outline your wishes in regard to who receives what from your estate. Think about your property and your other assets. Regardless of what you leave and who you leave it to, your assets are going to be subject to inheritance tax. To make things easier, you should also think about listing where your passwords are hidden to ensure that your beneficiaries can access your account.

Finally, a lot of people also choose to detail their funeral plans in their wills. This ensures that you receive the service that you want. It would make sense to consult with a funeral director like Ingram Funeral Home – if you’re in Georgia – they can help you to plan the whole thing from start to finish as well as give you an idea of how much it is going to cost so that you can take out the appropriate funeral cover policy.

Can I Write My Will Myself?

Obviously, your will needs to have been written by yourself in order to ensure that it is an accurate representation of your interests. However, because a will is a legal document, you will need to write it with the help of a lawyer, executor or even just a will writing service to ensure that your will is legally compliant and leaves no room for ambiguity. By using a professional, you can ensure that your will is clear, easy to follow and, most importantly, legally compliant. 

What Type of Will Do I Need?

There are a number of different forms of will that you will need to choose between when it comes to creating your own will. You will need to take into account your own personal circumstances to work out which option will be right for you. For example, you will need to consider what you are leaving behind, who to and your current familial situation. 

The first option is simply a straightforward will that anyone over the age of eighteen with any form of estate or assets can write. It is one of the most basic forms of will, and as such, it is accessible to most people. However, its basicness can be both a draw and a disadvantage depending on what you want to include in your will. 

For married, cohabiting or co-parenting couples, there are mirror wills that are worth considering. The wills essentially mirror each other, which is why they are commonly chosen by couples, although this may not always be the case if there are other relatives with shared assets. In a mirror will, the content is identical; when the first of the partnership passes, all assets revert to the other person, with the rest of the will to be carried out upon the death of both parties. 

Other forms of wills might have elements of a living will, but a living will itself tends to outline your wishes should you be alive but unable to communicate them. A living will have to be written by a person when they are still compos mentis, or of sound mind. The will outlines what extraordinary measures – if any – you want to be taken to save your life or how far treatment should go if your condition is deemed to be terminal. 

Lastly, there are will trusts. These tend to be among the most challenging to set up, requiring a lot of professional help to ensure that the legality is right. A will trust is written in order to ensure children or vulnerable adults are cared for in the event of your death. The will dictates the beneficiaries and appoints the trustees to act on your behalf. A trust often has an end date; for example, when the children turn eighteen or twenty-one, the rights to their inheritance will revert to them.

Once the Will is Written, Do I Have to do Anything Else?

After you have written your will, the hard part is done. That isn’t to say that there isn’t anything else that you need to do. Your will is likely to need reviewing every couple of years or so as your circumstances change. You might get married or divorced or widowed, gain new assets that need accounting for or simply have children. As your circumstances change, you will need to update your will as necessary because it is taken at face value, and your change in circumstances will not revoke your will. 

The Bottom Line

Writing a will is arguably the only way for you to ensure that wishes are going to be carried out after your death. Choosing the right will is obviously important, so think about what you will want to include in yours. You could have more than one. You could write a mirror will with your spouse while also having your own living will. Do your research to consider what form of will you want and what you want to include. Remember that even after your will is in place, you will still need to review it regularly.