How and When to Write a Will: Everything You Need to Know

How and When to Write a Will: Everything You Need to Know

Crikey Mate!

Steve Erwin, was a popular TV personality and wildlife enthusiast. On September 4th, 2006, Steve was snorkeling near a stingray when it stung and killed him. Passing away at the young age of 44, Steve left behind two children and his loving wife.

Death can strike anyone at any time, and if your finances aren’t in order, it can be hard for your family to move on. Proper estate planning is the best way to protect the people and things you care about.

Read on to find out when to write a will.

When to Write a Will

A will guarantees that the things you love go to the people you love, instead of becoming lost in a state of legal limbo. If you want a will, or think you could benefit from one, don’t delay in making it happen.

Trying to figure out when to write a will can be tricky if you don’t understand how a will works. Oftentimes, people find themselves thinking they only need a will if they’re very old, or if they’re on their deathbed.

However, you need a will anytime you want to secure what happens to your finances and belongings in the event you pass away. It doesn’t matter if you’re old, young, or somewhere in between, proper estate planning can benefit everyone.

Deciding Your Approach

Before you make your will, you’ll want to decide if you want to do it yourself or get help from a professional. To avoid common mistakes and ensure your document is up to legal standards, it’s almost always best to hire an attorney.

Having an attorney write your last will and testament will give you some extra peace of mind. If your finances involve an inheritance, or you have a strange request, the will writing process can be more complex and you’ll definitely want professional advice. 

If, however, your finances are relatively simple, you don’t have any children, and you truly can’t afford an attorney, then there are software options available to help you write your own will. 

Marriage and Kids

Anyone can benefit from having a will, however, estate planning becomes more important if you’re about to make a major life change. Entering into a marriage, getting divorced, and having kids, are all major life events that should trigger you to get a will.

If you had a will during your marriage but you got divorced, it’s time for an update. Go ahead and revoke your old will and make a completely new one. Otherwise, your ex-spouse could end up inheriting your assets, and most people don’t want that! 

If you remarry, you’ll want to update the beneficiaries on your will. It’s also important to note that a will update doesn’t take care of everything. Retirement account and life insurance beneficiary designations supersede your will, so you’ll want to make sure you update those as well. 

Kids and Guardianship

Having a child is also a triggering event to put a will in place. There are laws in place that will help children whose parents died without a will. However, if you want to guarantee that your child goes to the best guardian, you’ll need a will that specifies your desires.

For example, let’s say you have children who are not legally adults yet. If you and your other child’s parents were to pass away, who would their legal guardian be?

If you don’t have a will in place that dictates who you want to take care of your child, it’ll be up to the legislation who will take care of your child after you die. Instead, it’s a better idea to include a guardianship clause in your will, to make sure your child’s left in loving hands.

New Business Opportunities

If you’re starting a business, or you own shares in a private corporation, you need a will. Certain states will allow you to avoid administration taxes by putting a corporate will in place.

The assets that you own with your private corporation will be safe from certain estate administration taxes. This means that at the time of your passing your beneficiaries will be able to get more money because of your careful planning.

When you have a secondary or corporate will, it’s called a dual will. Dual wills are an incredibly useful tool for estate planning if you own a business.

If your state offers dual wills, take full advantage of them. The moment you decide to start a business, speak to an attorney about revising your state documents.

Becoming a Homeowner

When you buy a house you significantly change the value of your estate. Whenever you change your estate value, whether it’s an increase or a decrease, it impacts the amount of money you leave your beneficiaries. That’s why if you decide to buy or sell a large asset, such as a house, update your will.

You’ll want to update your will so that it includes the correct information for how you want to distribute your current assets. Another thing to consider is your tax planning opportunities.

When you increase the value of your assets, the rules about how taxes apply will change. If you don’t update your will, you could miss out on savvy tax-saving laws that you qualify for with your new estate value.

Anytime you move to another state, you also need to update your estate planning documents. Every new area you move to will have different laws regarding taxes, and other specific estate planning procedures.

Truly Rest in Peace

Estate planning usually isn’t at the forefront of your mind. However, knowing when to write a will, is the best way to protect your family’s security. We hope that our article will highlight at least one reason to inspire you to get a will today.

Are you looking for more ways to secure your family’s financial future? Go ahead and check out the rest of this site.

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