Whether you are young, old, healthy, or sick, leaving a will is an important task that should be done by all individuals. Granted, it can be stressful to think about what should happen in the case of your death, whether sudden or expected. But leaving a valid will can give you peace of mind and unburden your loved ones who are sure to face legal complexities should you pass away without a will.
Contrary to common belief, writing a will does not necessarily require you to hire a lawyer. It’s true that there are some situations in which you may be required to work with a lawyer in order to prepare a will, but in many cases, it is possible to avoid hiring legal professionals and the price tags that come with the services that you could have easily done yourself. Cases which may need lawyers can be read about here.
If you do not fall into the category of needing a lawyer, writing your own legal will is fairly straightforward; you need to choose an executor and alternate executor, categorize your property, make decisions about how to distribute your property, and store the will in a safe place.
Many people, often couples, feel that it is a good idea to write a joint will – that is, a single document that states the wishes and intentions of two individuals. The intent of such a will is often to declare that each party would leave everything to the surviving partner, and in the event that both die in the same disaster, that everything would go to their children. This is usually a bad idea.
Joint wills can tie up property and assets for years, pending the death of the surviving partner. During those years, life may have changed so much that a new will would be appropriate, but it is extremely difficult for the surviving partner to revoke the previous will since the deceased would not be around to approve it. In many instances, the surviving partner will be stuck with the outdated will, and once-joint assets will be divided in ways that does not coincide with present wishes. Considering the negatives, there should be very few reasons to not create a separate will that properly reflects the wishes of both parties, and which can be amended (by creating and attaching codicils), at ease.
Everyone needs and should write a will for those who will be left behind. With the right information and good clarification, writing a will can be a task that is simpler than imagined. If it will provide emotional relief for both you and your loved ones, why not do it now?