Almost two-thirds of Americans don't leave a will behind. However, without a will, you can leave a more confusing and complicated situation for your family. Wills are a way of making sure your desires get communicated to your loved ones after you're gone, and making life easier for them.
Are you ready to take this step to show you care? Will software makes leaving a will for your family easier than ever before. Today, it's very common for people to use will preparation software. It makes the process more organized for everyone involved.
If you're not familiar with will making software yet, we're here to help. This guide will walk you through the entire process. Keep reading to learn how to make a will the easy, effective way.
What is Will Software?
Will software allows you to make a real, legally binding will without hiring a lawyer. For many people who avoided writing a will because they couldn't afford a lawyer, this is a game-changer.
Online wills, even ones you write without a lawyer, are completely legal and binding. Of course, you will still need to take care to make sure the will follows all the local, state, and federal laws that apply. You'll want to make sure it's error-free in case it gets contested.
How to Use Will Making Software
A few basic will-writing tips can help you get the most out of your will software. Let's take a look at some of the main things you'll need to know.
Make Updates as Needed
Sometimes, a will never needs updating at all. However, it's easy to fail to make important changes if you never revisit your will software.
The will that applies is the one that's complete and valid at your time of death. To make sure that will carries out your real wishes, go back to your will software whenever you have a major life event.
For example, if you have a divorce, a new marriage, a new child, receive an inheritance, or any other number of major life changes, you should revisit your will. You can also go back over it every couple of years just to be sure. Since you're using software, checking it over is a simple process.
Know What a Will Can Do
If you're familiar with what wills are and how they work already, you'll get more out of using the software.
Wills, in short, are legal documents that let you state who's in charge of your estate when you're gone. The estate refers to anything that you own at your time of death. It can refer to valuable goods such as real estate and stocks, but it can also include meaningful family heirlooms. Your will states who should receive each of these things.
There are a couple of things that are exempt from wills, though. This includes things like retirement accounts and some types of insurance policy.
In your will, you'll name an executor who's in charge of managing your estate. This person is responsible for carrying out all the desired actions that you state in your will.
If you have dependents, such as minor children, your will states who is responsible for taking care of them. People who don't have wills let the state determine inheritance and guardianship. You need a will if you want to have a say in how these things play out after your death.
Store Your Will Properly
Even though you're using software to make your will, you'll still need to store the physical document correctly so it's legal.
Make sure it's somewhere your family will easily be able to access without you, but also somewhere safe. Also, make sure to have extra signed copies in other safe places in case something happens to the original. While the original is by far the most important document, a signed copy can help clear things up if it's lost.
You'll also need to make sure that your copies follow the legal requirements. They must be typed out and not handwritten (will software makes these easy). You'll need two witnesses, too.
Make Separate Wills
If you have a spouse, it's not a good idea to make a will together, even though will software makes it easy to do so.
In fact, the state you live in might not even recognize a joint will. But even if it does, the chances that you and your spouse will die at the exact same time are slim. And if you don't, a joint will makes the aftermath very complicated.
You likely also have property that you don't own together, even if you do share a lot of property. Make a separate will to cover all your bases. However, you can look at each other's wills using the software to follow the same pattern, if that makes things easier.
Can You Write a Will Yourself?
The existence of will software has led many people to wonder if it's really possible to make a will without a lawyer. But for a basic will, a lawyer's help really isn't necessary.
Wills should be written in easy-to-read language, without lots of complicated legal terms, so writing the will yourself is actually ideal in some ways.
You can use resources like this article, and other books and articles on wills, to answer any specific questions you might have. Will software uses simple forms that you'll fill out with your personal information and wishes.
If you discover questions that you can't seem to answer, you may want to hire a lawyer. But most people can easily get through the will using software, and have it witnessed and ready to go in a short amount of time.
Which Will Software is Best?
You'll probably soon notice that there are a few different kinds of will software on the market. However, not all of them have the same level of quality.
Beyond Counsel offers top-of-the-line estate planning software to help you easily build a legally binding will. Wondering how it works? Contact us here to schedule a demo!