Guide to Making a Will From Before and After Planning a Funeral
A will, also known as testament, is a declaration of an individual’s final wishes concerning the distribution of his/her properties and/or assets after death. This declaration, which is usually in writing, is a document that guarantees that your wishes will be executed.
Unfortunately, making a will is one of the items on to-do lists that most people just can’t seem to accomplish. And the primary reason for this is that humans don’t like to do things associated with their deaths. That would be fine, except that it has certain consequences. A good example is that it grants the law the power to distribute your wealth after you die, regardless of your wishes.
Contrary to popular opinion, writing a will is not complicated or difficult. Instead, it requires time and brainpower. That is to say, it requires you to think long and hard about your wishes before you write them.
In this guide, we will provide you with actionable steps you can use to draft your last will and testament without any hassle.
Let’s get started!
Things to Consider When Making a Will
Ideally, you should create a will before you plan your funeral. In fact, you can make funeral plans within your will (more on this below).
Below is a list of some of the things you need to consider when drafting your will.
- Inform your family and loved ones about your wishes
Last wishes are usually sensitive topics for discussions. However, you should talk about them with your loved ones. This is because it will enable you to answer their questions and prevent disputes from arising when you are gone. Also, it will help you know their wishes and desires, which you can then factor in when deciding the best way to distribute your properties and assets.
By the way, when you talk with your family members, you do not have to share all the content of your will. It is perfectly okay if you choose to share only a few details like:
- whether or not you have a will
- where it is stored
- who your executor is
- your funeral plan and burial wishes
- Itemize your bequests or specific gifts
There are several things to note when writing wills. And primary among them is the distribution of your properties. Bequests, also known as specific gifts, refer to the identifiable items such as properties or money you bequeath to certain persons after your death. Examples of these gifts are art, jewelry, family heirloom, cash, property, or mementos. Take note that all items not listed in your bequest or specific gifts will automatically become a part of your residual estate. You can store such documents and files in a digital legacy app.
- Identify the key parties in your estate
Before you start writing your will, identify the people who you want to fill the major roles in your estate. These roles include:
- The executor and estate trustee
- Custodians and guardians for your minor children
- Attorneys for personal and property care
Remember that these roles involve huge responsibilities. As such, make sure you talk with each of these people about the role(s) you have assigned to them. Also, have backups lined up in case your first choices do not work out.
- Make burial and funeral plans
Writing your will can also serve the purpose of helping you outline the ideal funeral and burial plans. In other words, it enables you to make the best funeral plans for yourself. Consequently, the burden for making funeral plans will be lifted off the shoulders of your loved ones as they will simply follow what you’ve stated.
- Choose your preferred will making method
There are numerous methods you can use to write your will. We advise you go with the method that works best for you. For instance, you can choose between hiring a lawyer to write your will, using an online will writing service, and drafting it by yourself. While each method has its perks and advantages, they all work.
If you have a simple estate, you can get your will done in a short while on online platforms. You can also use DIY Will Kits or Holographic Wills to prepare it. However, ensure that you meet the necessary criteria to make the will legally valid.
- Choose powers of attorney
When making your will, do not neglect to prepare your power of attorney. This enables you to appoint another individual who will oversee your estate and make personal decisions when you are no longer able to. Most importantly, only choose someone who you trust without reservations. The reason is simple: this person will make decisions on your behalf, including your financial and personal life, as well as medical decisions, among others.
How Much Does It Cost to Make a Will?
There is no single, agreed cost of making a will. Instead, it depends on many factors such as the method of drafting the will and its complexity.
To illustrate, hiring a lawyer that offers will writing services will cost a lot more than doing it yourself. Also, a complex and sophisticated Will will cost more than a simple one.
However, based on the factors above, most bills cost anywhere between $150 and $5,000.
Making a will requires in-depth thinking and a lot of time. For this reason, we advise you exercise caution when preparing one. Think long and hard about every item and only assent to it when you are absolutely certain it is what you want.
By the way, if you later change your mind, you can always go back to change it to reflect your new thinking.
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