Many Americans overlook the importance of writing a will when it comes to estate planning. According to a survey conducted by Caring.com, two out of three adults in the United States do not have an estate plan. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation may have prompted some individuals to consider creating a will. According to the survey, the number of younger Americans in 2023 are 63% more likely to have a will.
The creation of a will can help reduce the risk of family disputes and potentially high legal costs. With today’s technology, creating a will can be done quickly and easily using online tools. However, it is crucial to carefully evaluate these options before choosing to do one online.
When deciding on the best way to write a will, there are essentially three options:
- Preparing it yourself
- Using a do-it-yourself service
- Seeking the assistance of an estate planner
If you choose to draft a will on your own, you must have a solid understanding of your assets and provide detailed instructions for beneficiaries. Some retailers offer will kits that guide you through the process.
Online services provide access to software, but they may lack certain features that you may want, such as the opportunity for an in-depth discussion with a professional. Many online options allow for updates over time to accommodate changes in circumstances.
Before starting the process of creating a will, it is important to research the legal requirements in your region. The requirements for estate planning, such as witnesses and document format, vary by state.
Consideration should also be given to your estate and family situation. While some individuals with basic estates may be able to write their own wills, those with larger estates or specific circumstances may benefit from the expertise of a professional. This could include individuals with minor children who need to designate a guardian or those with children who receive government assistance and require careful asset management.
When comparing the costs of creating a will, it is worth noting that a handwritten or typed will created by yourself is at no cost. Online services typically charge less than $300, while an attorney may charge $500 or more depending on location and specific needs. It is essential to be precise in expressing your wishes when writing your own will to avoid complications during the probate process.
Regardless of how you create your will, it is essential to keep the final version in a safe place and inform others of its location. Updating family members if the document is moved is also important. This ensures peace of mind and helps your loved ones stay organized.
Creating a will is an important step in estate planning. Whether you choose to do it yourself, use an online service, or work with an estate planner, understanding the legal requirements, considering your estate and family situation, comparing costs, and informing heirs of the will’s location are all crucial aspects of the process.