How to Draw Up Your Own DIY Will
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How to Draw Up Your Own DIY Will

What should happen to your belongings in the event of your death? Have you stopped to think about the answer to this question? How do you want your wealth be distributed? Is it important to you that certain people are provided for, or would you like to leave such decisions to the luck of your descendants and relatives?

Most people would be horrified to think that the property which they so lovingly built throughout their lives would fall into wrong hands or be taken over by the State leaving the rightful owners high and dry. Nonetheless, few people take the trouble to make a will.

Why people put off drawing up a will?

There are many reasons that deter people from making their last will. Some of the most commonly found reasons are:

  1. Courting trouble - many feel that if they think or consider writing a will, they would actually invite their death or acute misfortune into their lives.
  2. Good understanding among children – yet others feel that their children are civilized enough to share the property and liabilities among themselves so a will is not important.
  3. Property is not valuable enough – some people feel that unless you have property worth millions, a will and testament is not required.
  4. There is enough time for drawing a will – many people feel that they are too young to think about death and its repercussions. They feel that only people who are on their death beds should consider leaving behind a will.
  5. Creates rift in the family – drawing up a will would generate animosity among the family members

DIY will is easy and one of the wisest things you could do during your life time

A beautiful adage says, “Live life like there is no tomorrow!” While the real meaning of this saying is to live your life in full, every and each day, you will find that there is a deeper lesson you could extract from it. What if today is indeed your last day on earth? What would happen after you are gone? Would your children or spouse be protected? Would you be happy with the way the division of your property would be decided by your family?

In order to ensure that your wealth and property goes to the rightful owner in the unfortunate event of your death, you need to draw a will as soon as possible. In fact, the younger you are the better. It is often that the last will and testament has been disputed by relatives on the premise that the person who wrote it was affected by senility, and hence not qualified to take such important decisions. Do not let this happen to you or your heirs.

What does it take to draw up a will?

The basic structure of a will is as given below:

  1. Date
  2. Your name and address
  3. Complete listing of your assets
  4. The main beneficiary or beneficiaries
  5. Alternative beneficiary or beneficiaries in case your first preference, for some reasons, is/are not able to accept the legacy
  6. Bequest to relatives, close family and friends
  7. Forgiving debts (optional)
  8. Nominating the executor of your will
  9. Empower this executor to pay off the taxes and all relevant estate debts before the legacy is shared among the heirs and beneficiaries
  10. Mention the fees of the Executor either as fixed amount or as percentage of the funds settled
  11. Have an alternative named, in case your choice dies or is unable to do the needful
  12. Nominating a guardian for your minor children, if any
  13. Name an alternative guardian, in case the original choice is not possible
  14. Making of a trust, foundation for special purposes
  15. Naming any special arrangement you would wish for your funeral
  16. Revoke all previous wills and codicils, if applicable
  17. State clearly that you are, as observed and countersigned by the witnesses, in sound mind when the will is drawn, or it could contested by people with vested interests
  18. Your signature
  19. The signature of two witnesses who are not benefiting from the will
  20. Attach self-proving affidavits, which will eliminate the need of tracking down witnesses
  21. Complete details – name, address, SSN, contact coordinates of the witnesses, just in case such information is needed

Ensure that your wishes are respected and enforced

After death you cannot do anything to stop misappropriation of funds or mismanagement of your property. If you want to ensure that your property would reach its right owner or owners, you need to ensure that your will is legally viable and acceptable. Here are a few things that could help you in this task:

  • Follow the law of the land – though overall the law is uniform in the USA, there are certain clauses that differ from State to State. Ensure that your will and testament will stand up in the court of law by checking with the local laws regarding wills.

  • Copy the will to your executor and keep the original safe – ensure that your executor has a copy of your will and inform him/ her of the place where the original will is placed.
  • Percentage is better than fixed amounts – considering that your wealth and property will keep changing from time to time, it is always better to allot shares by percentage rather than fixed amounts

  • Does your will need to be notarized – check out whether in your State the wills need to be notarized before being accepted as a valid legal document

  • Do not make any corrections to the will – once completed and signed, you should not make any correction on the will. Any additions or omissions may be done through a separate document that would be attached to the original will; such attachments are called ‘codicils’. Remember, to send a copy of the same to your Executor.

  • Sign in blue or any other color - this will ensure that the original is obvious and also prevent manipulations of your signature.

Helpful online resources:

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Comments (2)
Colin

Very usefull information

lost heirs

Thank for posting what seems to be useful information

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