The Importance of Writing a Will
Ushering a newborn baby into the world pushes thoughts of one's own mortality into the background. Yet writing a will now is one of the most important things you can do for your child. Learn how to get started!
Estimating Your Worth
After considering your child’s guardian, and your estate’s trustee and executor, you and your spouse will need to calculate your joint worth. Estimate your assets by adding the worth of your material property (home, furniture, car, etc.) to your savings and retirement accounts, then subtract your debt.
Though it may seem more time effective to create a single joint will, it is better to make separate legal wills for each parent. In the event that something happens to you and not your spouse, this allows the surviving parent more room to adapt to changing circumstances. When outlining separate wills, each spouse should name the other as sole beneficiary of any remaining assets as well as guardian for any surviving children.
If you have a life insurance policy, 401k, or IRA account, be aware that sometimes the beneficiary forms accompanying these documents overrule wills. The funds in these accounts will be distributed to whomever you name—regardless of whom you specify in your will. You’ll need to double check the names on these accounts and make changes to match the names with those you dictate in your will.
If you don’t have many assets, sizable savings, or any property, and you’re merely looking for a way to legally appoint a guardian, trustee, and/or executor, doing your own will is an economical choice.
“If there is truly no money and no unusual planning called for,” says Palermo, “then many young parents would not go wrong using self-help software from www.nolo.com.” Investing in a kit with pre-made forms and/or software will provide you with most of the paperwork you need to construct a basic will. Additional websites such as www.legal-kits.net, www.legalkitstore.com, www.uslegalforms.com, www.legalzoom.com, www.willsofamerica.com, Making-a-legal-will.com, DoYourOwnWill.com, www.legacywriter.com, and www.buildawill.com all offer kits priced from as low as $10 and up to about $100. Some of these sites, such as uslegalforms.com, even offer preparation services at a low additional cost. And advanced sites, such as legalzoom.com and legacywriter.com walk you through an in-depth questionnaire process to ensure your will is accurate and best suited to your needs.
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