Do you have children under the age of 18? Are you wondering how to make a will?
Generally, folks tend to see making a will as a morbid task and try to put it off. In fact, in a recent survey, it was found that only 8.2% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 have a will. And the number is less than 30% for those aged 35-54.
Why should you be planning for the needful, and do you need a lawyer to make a will?
Here’s what you need to know.
In This Post:
Why You Need a Will
If you have a child under the age of eighteen, a will is necessary so you can appoint guardianship in the event of an untimely tragedy. If you were to pass away without a will, the court will end up determining guardianship.
While your child may eventually go to a relative or close friend, the arrangement could come at great expense to your loved ones. Or the guardian could end up being someone you wouldn’t have chosen.
A similar document called a living trust can be advantageous for several reasons. It can transfer your assets without requiring your loved ones to deal with the hassles of probate court.
A living trust cannot, however, appoint a guardian for your child, while a will can. A will can also help you be clear about who will receive your assets and keep them out of the hands of anyone you don’t want them to go to. Making a will can also allow you to give charitable donations, which can help protect your loved ones from estate tax.
Should I Make a Will Online?
Some folks may choose to write a will online because it’s less expensive.
Online will-writing programs use a template that follows your state’s laws and regulations. It will ask you a series of questions about your finances, life, and final wishes.
Once you’ve finished adding the appropriate information, a valid will gets generated. You must also have witnesses sign the document.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Make a Will?
In today’s days of automated services, a lawyer isn’t always necessary for will-writing. If, however, your financial situation is a little more complicated, a lawyer can be a very worthwhile investment.
Besides helping your draw up a valid will, a lawyer can also answer your questions about complicated legal matters.
You can, for example, ask them how to best structure your assets to make your plan work best. You may also have a complicated situation such as a family member with special needs. Or you may want to protect your heirs from losing their inheritance in a divorce.
It’s important when meeting with an attorney to start with what you hope your will can accomplish, and allow them to help you iron out all of the details.
Appointing a Guardian
You may think that appointing a guardian to care for your children in the event that you can’t is an easy process. You’ll want to think twice, however, before choosing a close friend or relative to raise your children if your time comes before theirs.
Consider things such as your religious or moral values. Will the person you’re choosing continue to pass them on?
You’ll also want to consider the individual’s maturity and responsibility. Will they provide for the things your child needs and not neglect them?
Think about where your guardian lives and if they will have room for your child. You’ll also want to consider how close your child can continue to be to their current friends and family members.
Another important factor is your guardian’s closeness to other adults involved in your child’s life. Will they be able to reach out in case they need extra help?
You’ll also want to consider your guardian’s age and any medical conditions they may have. Your child’s guardian should be fit to care for them until they are able to support themselves.
Choosing Your Lawyer
It can be easy to choose a lawyer to work with after a quick Internet search. This may not, however, be the best way to choose a professional to handle your affairs.
Start by asking trusted friends or family members if they’ve ever used a lawyer to draw up a will. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions.
Was the attorney knowledgeable and respectful? Were they able to create your will efficiently and answer all of your questions? Were there any unexpected fees?
If you’re unable to get any personal recommendations, go online, and search for lawyers who specialize in estate planning. Look for someone local as they’ll be most familiar with the laws and regulations in your area. Read online reviews and see what former clients are saying.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, call the lawyers and ask them for at least three references who can attest to a positive experience. Schedule a free consultation and find out about their experience with writing wills. Ask them how much of their caseload deals is dedicated to estate planning matters.
The right professional will have the knowledge and background necessary to create a thorough, professional document.
Drawing Up the Deed
Do you need a lawyer to make a will? The answer will depend upon the complexity of your situation. If you have minor dependents and require assistance with your assets and wishes, the right estate planning attorney can be a worthwhile investment.
Don’t stop becoming a savvy parent now. For more great advice on preparing your little ones for the future, read our blog today.