Planning

Writing a Will

Make your wishes known

Drawing up a will is a part of your estate planning that can settle all the legal issues concerning your death and the disbursement of your assets. It's a simple and quick way to make sure that your assets are divided as you wish, and any minor children or other responsibilities are taken care of. No matter how old you are or how wealthy you are, drawing up a will is never a bad idea.

Online Wills

Completing an online will is an increasingly popular option, with a growing number of consumers taking advantage of the ease and convenience. As is the case with doing taxes online, an online will is simple, cheap and private. It is also completely legal as long as you comply with state laws. You can create a legal last will and testament online using any of several services. Some of these services offer free trials and will guide you through the process very carefully. Online wills are a considerably cheaper option, compared to going through a lawyer; in fact, many services charge far less than $100 US to generate all the necessary paperwork.

Legality

In all states, the only elements required to make a will legal are that the individual be of sound mind and body, the document is uniform in appearance and that the will be signed by two or three witnesses who aren't family members. As of June 2005, there are only three states that require a will to be notarized by an attorney. These are North Carolina , South Carolina and Tennessee .

Preparing to Write your Will

When you begin the process of estate planning you'll need to gather all your legal papers. These will include real estate deeds, bank account balances, stocks and bonds, annuities, insurance policies and any other investments you have.

You'll also need an inventory of expensive jewelry and collectibles including art, dish sets and furniture. Be sure to account for all your assets as you prepare, to allow for their fair and selective distribution. 

The estate planning process also involves your liabilities - list all credit cards, mortgages, loans, etc.

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