Don’t skip the attorney when it comes to writing your will. Free fill-in-the-blank wills online are fine if you don’t have any significant assets, but if you do, an attorney is necessary to get your affairs in order. Online wills are easily contested, which can leave your estate in probate longer than it needs to be. This can drain the estate and leave little behind for your heirs. Also, having a legally binding will can help eliminate unnecessary family squabbles.
The Ethical Will
Even if you don’t have two pennies to rub together, you can still write a will. You can write an ethical will, which is basically a will that outlines your personal values, spiritual convictions, hopes for future generations and important life lessons. This type of will has nothing to do with money or assets and a lawyer isn’t necessary.
What Should You Include in Your Will?
What you include in your will really depends on what you have and who you want to have it after you’re gone. It’s important to think it through and be very clear on what exactly you want to do with your assets prior to walking into an attorney’s office.
Things You Can Include in Your Will
- Residential buildings, income properties, commercial and residential properties and land.
- Cash: money in a savings account, checking account, individual retirement account, Certificate of Deposit, money market accounts and possibly pension accounts.
- Intangible property: stocks, bonds, business ownership, copyrights, patents, royalties, intellectual property.
- Valuable items: cars, motorcycles, boats, furniture, jewelry, antiques and so on.
Things You Can’t Include in a Will
Not everything can be included in a will. Here’s a list of some things that can’t be included:
- Property that is equally owned by two parties (both names are on the deed). These type of assets will automatically be transferred over to the surviving partner.
- Retirement plans
- Insurance policies that state a beneficiary
- Stocks and bonds that have been set up to automatically transfer to another person upon passing