A will is a legal document that helps your heirs and descendants to deal with your movable and immovable properties after your demise. In simple terms, a will is a legal statement by a person to direct his or her assets to the legal heir.
Will have existed for a long time and later it became an important matter to decide the allocation of fortunes. Earlier most people used to write their wills in their later age. But, now most people make a will way before their old age. A will is essential if you do not want your family members to become involved in disputes or problems after your demise.
In general, a will contains all the information about the properties, the stakes, money, etc. and who will inherit these things. Usually, people who are adults (at least 18 years old) can write their will. You can always write your will whenever you feel like it. You can ask your lawyer to help you in making or do it all by yourself. This is because wills are generally simple written statements.
Many countries allow people to print or type-write wills on legal stamp duty papers. You can also write on your own if you want it. In some countries, the will-maker needs to authorize the will with the sign of at least two witnesses. The witnesses attest that the writer made this will at their full knowledge and presence. You may also need to authorize the will from a notary or a certified lawyer to make it legal. Please remember that wills are not valid unless you prepare it according to the guidelines of your country.
People can change their will multiple times. They can always change their decision and will. In this case, the government and legal authorities consider the last will of the demised person. The last will are documents that direct the asset allocation to your descendants or legal heirs.
You can make a will to provide or divide your property and estate among your legal heirs or even appoint a person who will be there to oversee the asset distribution process after your death. In case your children are minor, you can appoint a legal guardian to manage all the assets on the minors’ behalf. The minors can claim their property after they become an adult.
But, writing a will is not an easy task as it seems, You need to do a lot of thinking and research before writing the will. In case you need guidance to write the perfect will, you can get all information related to how to write a simple will from this article.
Difference between the trust and the will
In simple words, wills are legal documents for asset relocation. It will determine who will get which assets from your estate after your demise. On the other hand, trust is an organization or a board that decides on how to spend your money on a special cause.
Here is an example – let’s assume an individual has a charity organization. That person can appoint a trustee to manage the organisation after his or her demise. It can also be applied if they have special children or differentially abled beneficiaries who need extra care.
Some points to decide before you start writing will
Before you start writing your will, you need to take care of some important points. If you do not, there can be some disputes in future. Here are the main points that you need to decide before you start writing your will-
Decide how will you write it
This is the main point you need to consider. You can write your will on your own with the help of online software. Anyone can write a proper and legal will with this software all by themselves. Alternatively, you can choose the traditional way and consult a reputed and experienced lawyer to write the will. Your lawyer will write it for you after you decide the beneficiaries and division of assets.
DIY wills may seem a great idea but these are not a good option as they do not contain any legal terms, which can cause a lot of problems for your heirs. Therefore, it is always better to take help from your trusted attorney or from the software to get the proper will with proper legal language.
Choose your beneficiaries wisely
It is the second most important thing that you need to decide before writing your will. Beneficiaries are kind of legal heirs. But there is a slight difference. In the eyes of law, legal heirs are those who are biologically related to you. They can only be from your family. But, you can choose a family member, a friend or even a charity as your beneficiaries. They will have a right to your assets as per your declare. So, it is better to choose beneficiaries having complete knowledge.
Chose the executor
You also need to choose an executor who will be there to direct all of your beneficiaries and divide the assets according to your will. In short, the executor will work as the legal guardian of your assets till he or she divides it among your heirs. Anyone can choose any adult person as the executor of their last will. But an executor needs to be a trustworthy person who knows your family members and their contacts. Always make sure to inform your executor about the contacts and the name of the beneficiaries. Because that person will be the first one to connect to your heirs about asset division and legal procedures.
A lot of people choose their family lawyer as the executor. It is because the lawyers are experienced and can easily complete the task you want them to perform. Naming your lawyer as your executor also helps you to remove an external burden from your loved ones after your demise.
Choose the legal guardian if you have a minor child
In case you have a minor child, you need to choose a legal guardian. He or she will take care of all the needs of your child or children until their adulthood. The legal guardian is responsible for the education, upbringing and other mandatory things of your children in your permanent absence. If you need to do this, always go for a discussion with the person you intend to make the legal guardian of your children. Because the person you desire may not be comfortable with being a legal guardian.
According to legal experts, a person does not need permission from another person to make the latter a legal guardian of their children. But, discussion about it ensures the person is willing and knows the task of being a legal guardian. If you have decided to make someone legal guardian of your children, then you need to appoint your lawyer as an executioner. The lawyer will be able to maintain and monitor if the legal guardian is good enough for your children and will help your children to claim their legal rights after they reach adulthood.
Instructions about your pets
If you have long-living pets like turtles or horses, you may need to make separate arrangements. Therefore, decide what to do with the pet beforehand. You can give away the legal ownership of your pet to a family member and give instructions about the maintenance of the pet. It will save your beneficiaries from any problem during the asset execution.
What about your digital assets?
With changing times, many people now have their pool of digital gadgets. Some people also leave pricy gadgets behind. People often enter into legal disputes with their family members for the gadgets of their dead relative. It can be a great mess. Hence, you need to also mention about the inheritance of your digital gadgets on your will.
Design an initial rough sketch of your will
You are writing your will. And it involves a lot of beneficiaries, trustees and all of your assets. Therefore, a small error or missing the smallest detail can be fatal for your beneficiaries. Hence, you need to go with rough planning. Take your time and decide on the initial divisions of your assets. Write down your will in plain paper with a rough sketch. It will help you to write the final will properly.
You need to have a clear idea about the asset division. So, decide beforehand. Write about the assets and the people who will get one asset in particular.
Direction about your funeral
You can always arrange money and keep it aside for your funeral. It is a great benefit for those people who are mourning your demise in future. You can note down about the funeral arrangements and details and how to obtain the money in your will. You can even make clear instructions about the funeral venue, your wish for cremation, how to officiate it in your will in a separate section.
Steps for writing your will
So, you have prepared your rough draft. Make sure to check the draft repeatedly. You may have forgotten something important during the writing process. You will be able to add it after you revise the will. You also have decided to how to divide your asset, on the guardianship and the executor.
If you are sure about the will and are confident, it is alright. So, now you can finally move to the main work or how to write a simple will. Here are the steps that you need to follow to finalize your will and testaments-
Consult your lawyer
Yes, you can always write your own will. But, consulting your lawyer is the best idea. Your lawyer is an expert in this matter and can help you to modify your will to make it more clear and simple with proper instruction. Additionally, consulting your lawyer makes the procedure more efficient and less time-consuming. It also provides you with an error-free will that does not cause any type of legal trouble. So, always make sure to meet your lawyer for discussion before making your will.
Select your beneficiaries and executioner
If you have decided on your beneficiaries, you need not do much in this step. You may need to make some last-minute arrangements after the discussion with your lawyer. Or, you may recheck the list through any online software.
Make sure to appoint the legal guardian with proper citation
In case you are appointing a legal guardian for your minor children, you need to state everything clearly. Make sure to write down their full name, their address and contacts in your will. On top of that, be clear with how the legal guardian will get the allowance to look after your children. Additionally, you also need to make sure to include the transfer of guardianship if the chosen guardian is unable to look after your child. Therefore, it is better to appoint a second person as the alternate legal guardian for convenience.
Make an explicit list of the asset division in a realistic way
You need to be specific about the asset division. If you do not write clearly who will get what, it can complicate things in the future. In case you have more than one children and other legal heirs, the procedure often becomes messy. Therefore, you can make a list in your will. Mention all of your assets and write clearly who gets which part.
For example, let’s assume that you have two houses. You might want to give one house to your one heir and the other one to another heir. Write down who gets which house to prevent any further conflict. You need to be precise about who will inherit which asset after your death.
In the case of asset relocation, being realistic is the key because you may not be able to divide things equally. In this case, you can ask your executor to auction some portion or an entire portion of your assets and divide the obtained money equally among your heirs.
On the other hand, if you have a charity organization or a differentially abled beneficiary, you need to make arrangements for them also. You can make a trust to maintain everything. Make sure to include the name of the board members, their roles and their contacts in your will. Also, provide clear instructions on how they will manage money in a related matter.
If you have any loan or debts, make sure to mention in it in your will
A lot of people miss this small point which makes dividing assets a tough task. Often people leave partially mortgaged assets to their heirs, which causes them a lot of legal hassles. If you have any loans or mortgage, you need to include these in your will. It is better to include how the mortgage will be over with proper instructions. You can state about auctioning some assets to clear the ways to clear the loans.
Get the witness signature
You may need to get some witness signature to make the will legal and safe. You need to appoint witnesses who are an adult and are not your beneficiaries. Therefore, think about the witnesses beforehand and ask them to sign an affidavit of your will. You need to sign in your will in front of your witnesses and lawyer and it will become legal.
In case you want to say something also include your statement
The will is a legal and professional document. But, it does not contain your emotion and personal messages. If you want to leave some personal message to your loved ones then you need to include these messages also, You can write down a letter for each of your beneficiaries and attach these with your will. They will receive the letters during the hearing session.
Keep your will in a safe place
Your will is complete. Now you need to keep the will in a safe place. You can always place the will to your lawyer and inform your family members to inquire about the will from your lawyer. Alternatively, you can keep the will in your bank safe or a protected safe and note the location in a diary and a safe place. You can also keep a copy of your will in your home for the convenience of your family members.
Will change or review
Your will can change with time. Because, with time your wishes ad dynamics with your close circle changes, Therefore, you may need to change your will in future according to your wishes. You may need to change the will in case of another child (birth or adoption), buying or selling of assets, marriage or divorce, death of any beneficiary or even with changing financial situation.
You can also change the will, if you feel you need to modify it. You can amend your will in a “Codicil”. It is a legal document included in your will. It contains all the amendments that you have made its future. Otherwise, you can also make a fresh will and state that the previous will is now invalid in your new will. It all depends on you. The truth is you can always change your will whenever you want and how many times you want.
If you have made a will from online sites, you can change the previous will and modify it online. In case you have made it through your lawyer, contact your lawyer and proceed as per guidance.