Are you interested in learning how to create your own will online?
Creating your own will is a great option if you want to save money or if you don’t have immediate access to an attorney.
The reality is that drafting up legal documents with an attorney can be very costly. However, that shouldn’t stop you from making sure you have your estate in order.
Why do you need a will?
As parents, one of the most important things that we can do is ensure that our children are taken care of at all times. This includes when we’re here and when we’re gone.
An important document that allows you to do that is a will. A will is a legal document that directs care for your children and how you want your assets to be dispersed upon your death.
Having a will gives you complete control over how things will be taken care of in your absence. Otherwise, these decisions will be left to your state’s legal system.
The unfortunate reality is that when you don’t have a will, it can cause contention and disagreements among family members. You want your wishes to be explicitly documented so that there is no confusion.
One way to avoid this is to even share your will while you are still living so that everyone impacted is clear on your wishes.
This post is sponsored by Trust & Will — an online estate planning website for everyday people. All sponsored posts are solely our honest opinions made in good faith. Click here for more information on sponsored content.
How much does a will cost?
You can imagine that most people don’t want to think about writing a will, let alone paying for one. Although a will is an important financial document to have, it can be costly to draft up.
The cost to draft a will can vary by your location, attorney, and of course, if you choose to do it yourself.
When hiring an attorney to draft your estate documents, you can expect to pay anywhere between $300 – $1000. In fact, it cost me and my husband nearly $1,000 to have our estate documents drafted by a local attorney.
Although I am confident in the legal preparation and protection, it is certainly something that could have cost us significantly less. I believe that something this important shouldn’t be out of reach for the average family. That’s why drafting your own will online is something that you should consider.
The cost to draft your own will is only a fraction of the price that it would be to use an attorney. For example, Trust & Will — an online estate planning site — has individual wills for less than $200.
Where to create a will online
When creating a will online, it’s important to use a reputable site with sufficient legal templates. Be cautious with simply doing a Google search of will templates. This can land you on some spammy and even predatory sites.
One reputable site that you can leverage to draft your own will is Trust & Will.
Trust & Will is a site that allows you to create your own will within minutes, with a team available for support.
Even if you’re still not confident in doing things on your own, you can actually chat with attorneys if you have questions or need help.
How to write a will online
Sites like Trust & Will actually walk you through the process of drafting your will step by step. You simply have to answer the questions that are provided in the prompts. These responses will be used to draft your personalized will document.
However, before getting started, there are a few things that you’ll need to do and have prepared.
1. Create a list of assets and how you want them to be distributed
Assets are your belongings–including physical and intangible property. This can include but isn’t limited to your:
- home and additional properties
- bank accounts
- insurance policies
This can be a long list of items, so it’s important to keep a list of these items that you can add to. It may be helpful to work through categories such as real estate, financial, intangible property, and physical property.
2. Determine your beneficiaries
Once you have an exhaustive list of your assets, you should determine how you want them distributed upon your death. This could mean passing them down to your children, your spouse, or even to an organization.
Either way, this needs to be explicitly stated such that it goes to the proper parties.
When creating your will online, be sure to have the full legal names and birth dates of individuals that you’d like to name as beneficiaries of your assets.
Keep in mind that some of your assets may have a beneficiary already named. For example, you likely have a beneficiary named on your insurance policies and bank accounts since they are often required when setting them up.
3. Choose an Executor
An executor is a person who is appointed to carry out the terms of your will. This can be someone that you know personally or you can choose to appoint an attorney or bank.
In either scenario, it needs to be someone who is unbiased and responsible. They will also need to be able to navigate family dynamics and issues that may arise as a result.
This person will carry out tasks like paying off debts & taxes and distributing property as outlined.
4. Determine a guardian
If you have minor-age children, the next important step is assigning a legal guardian. A guardian will become legally responsible for your child or children upon your passing. That means that a lot of thought should go into deciding who this person, or couple, will be.
Without naming a guardian, you will leave it up to the legal system to decide who will assume care of your children. This definitely isn’t something that you want to leave up to chance.
When choosing a legal guardian for your children, you need to evaluate the person’s geographic location– since your children will live with them– their level of maturity and responsibility, their financial stability, health, and more!
Check out this complete guide to determine legal guardians for children, pets, and more.
5. Print, sign, & store
Once your will has been created based on the information you entered, you can print it out. Or, in the case of Trust & Will, you can also have it mailed to you.
Once you’ve printed your will, you’ll need to sign it for it to go into effect. Legally, this must be done in the presence of witnesses who are not included in the documents. You can have a notary assist with this for a small fee.
Once signed, store it in a safe place. You should inform your loved ones and the executor where this place is so that it is accessible to them if needed.
6. Update when necessary
Life happens. When major life events happen, you should update your will to make sure it reflects any necessary changes. You can make amendments to your will on your own or go through an attorney. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to review your will every 4-5 years.
One of the most important things that you can do as a parent is to make sure your kids are protected. Having a will is a simple step that you can take to do so.
You’ve worked hard to create a legacy for your children, so make sure that it continues. You can get started creating your will in just 15 minutes. It’s definitely worth the time!