Up until recent years, creating a last will and testament was a process that involved lawyers, many forms, and possibly hefty fees. Then the capability of purchasing the same last will and testament forms used by attorneys, both in office supply stores and online, became popular. However, since these forms tend to be single-use forms (because, really, how many times a year are you going to file a new will?) people weren’t happy about shelling out top dollar for the programs.
Now, by downloading free last will and testament templates, you can fill them out yourself, and do your own legwork to have your will notarized, or you can opt to pay a very small fee to an online company and have them create your will for you based on information you provide.
Websites such as www.wills.com offer the latter service. For $29.95, you can use their website to create your “Simple Will.” You simply enter your pertinent information, such as name, address, and who you would like named in your will to receive your assets, and Wills.com promptly delivers a complete, detailed, and legal will. There are no limits to what you can bequeath in this will. Everything from setting up trust funds to naming an unlimited number of assets to an unlimited number of beneficiaries can be included for no extra charge. For most individuals, this is an exceptional way to have a professional last will and testament drawn up.
There are some risks involved with employing an online company to perform this task, of course. Unscrupulous frauds are rampant in the cyber-world, and it is of absolute importance that you check your company’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) before you divulge any personal information about yourself or your loved ones.
If you prefer doing the work yourself, you can easily access free templates for your will on sites such as www.ilrg.com and www.publiclegalforms.com. These sites also include FAQs and how-to guides to help you with the creation of your own will. Sample wills can be found at www.legalhelper.net.
Key points to remember in writing your own last will and testament are:
Who do you want to name as executor of your will?
How many beneficiaries do you wish to have?
How will you divide your assets amongst your beneficiaries?
Are there any charitable organizations you wish to include in your will?
Who do you wish to carry out long-term assets, such as trust funds for children? What specific conditions do you wish to have applied to these long-term assets?
It is also important to remember that your will does not automatically update itself as time goes by. If your financial situation changes or you choose to make an alteration to your beneficiaries, you must re-file your updated will. The most recent, legalized copy of your will is the only valid one at the time of your death.
Whether you choose to create your will on your own or to employ the low-cost assistance of online services, be certain to plan ahead, know what you want to give and how, and be certain to keep copies for yourself, your lawyer, and your loved ones. Update your will as necessary, and never leave it until the last moment. While it may hurt to think of your own mortality, you can look at your will as setting your choices for your immortality.