What Is it?
A legal document that instructs where to distribute those assets that are not already being distributed through a trust, beneficiary or transfer-on-death designation. Wills go through probate that will take at least a few months. Probate is the public, governmental process where creditors are allowed access to assets before distribution by the executor named in the will.
Do We Need It?
Yes. Every adult over the age of 18 should have a will. Without a will, a probate court will appoint an executor and anyone with good reason can petition the court for that role. A simple will can easily be created online for less than $100.
How To Get It
1. If you have a simple estate you can use will software online for less than $100. For large estates or ones that involve minor or special needs children you should see an attorney.
2. Locate two witnesses who are not named as beneficiaries of the will.
3. If you are using an online resource, help your parent fill in the details. Make sure you and siblings understand your parents desires.
4. Print the will.
5. Your parent signs the will in the presence (required in some states) of the two witnesses who then sign.
6. Make copies of the will.
7. Place the original in a safe place, like a fireproof box in your parents home. A safe deposit box at a bank is not recommended because it could become difficult to access when needed.
8. Distribute copies to the witnesses and attorney, if used.