Happy August! This month is National Make-a-Will month so we’ve outlined how you can get your will done in 5 easy steps. Also, check out our review of online living wills and get them done together.
August’s Feature Article: 5 Steps to Get Your Will Done This Month!
GYST’s guide explains where to start, assigns you one task each week, and breaks it all down into easy, doable steps.
Step 1: Review Your Options
Whether you have a very simple ‘estate’ and the most basic online template covers all you’d need, or, a more complicated situation because of divorce, out of state property, or international citizenship that requires a few more details – you are in luck. Getting your Estate Plan done is easier than ever – and we’ll show you how.
First things first: Do you know the difference between a Will, Living Will (also called an ACD), and Power of Attorney (POA) document? They are three different things, and most people benefit from having one of each.
Step 2: Find the Best Option for You
Our team at GYST reviewed three different online legal services in the Spring of 2016: Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom and Willing. Each offer self-serve options with basic forms and functionality and generated a PDF for you to download when done and all three options took less than an hour to complete. The main differences are pricing models (flat fee or subscription), ability to save and update your forms, and additional costs for add-ons and upgrades. This month we’ve partnered with Rocket Lawyer for Make-a-Will Month
Read our Review of Online Legal Services
Step 3: Get Your Questions Answered
If you have any questions at all, if you are unsure about any of the legal template options or you have questions about any part of the process – please ask!
Ask a peer: There is a Q&A forum with more than 8 million searchable questions and answers allows people to ask their own legal question and receive answer from attorneys.
Talk to an expert: If a quick conversation with an expert would help, Avvo Advisor provides concrete legal advice though a 15-minute phone call with a highly-reviewed lawyer for just $39. Read more about legal help from our partner, Avvo.
Look online: You may find more answers in our Estate Planning FAQ.
Step 4: Draft Your Documents
Use an online service or find a reputable estate planning attorney, in any case carefully draft, review, and double-check your documents are accurate and you don’t have any questions or concerns.
Step 5: Finalize, Share & Store them Safely
Your last step is to finalize your documents.
To execute a will in any state in the United States, you must:
- Sign the document while you have capacity to know what you’re doing. This has been referred to, “being of sound mind.”
- Have two people witness your signing of the will, and they sign it, too.
- In most states getting your documents notarized is not required, but highly encouraged.
Finally, make sure they they are shared with a few trusted people (the one’s named in your documents, especially the Executor) and can be located if (or when) they are needed. How?
In many cases, old-school record keeping on paper can work just fine. An ‘In Case of Emergency’ folder in the metal file cabinet, spiral-bound notebook on top of the fridge, even a 3-ring binder with copies of important documents (like your will) and a phone list you can give to one or two people you trust.
Or, for many people, storing information online is easier, more convenient and feels more secure. There are many options that range from free, password protected locations in the cloud – to more secure or super-encrypted security for a monthly fee.
Once you’re done, send us a picture and we’ll make you (like Stephanie) our next Success Story!