Disclaimer: I am not a legal professional. Please do not assume that this information is correct for your situation or state. Consult resources in your location to comply with local laws, and to make sure these documents are done correctly.
Why Make A Will
Why is having a will important? According to attorney, Betsey Simmons Hannibal, “The most common and simple reason to make a will is to decide who will get your property when you die. Without a will (or other plan, like a living trust), your state laws determine how your property will be distributed — usually to your closest relatives, like your spouse, children or parents.”
If you have children, and have no surviving parent to take care of them, the state will decide who cares for them after your death, if you have not created a will that says who you want that responsibility to go to.
If you co-habitate or have a same-sex marriage, your significant other or spouse may not inherit your property depending upon where you live. If you have a will, your wishes will be followed.
So for these reasons, it is important that we create a will.
Ways To Create A Will
Thinking about making a will, can be very overwhelming. Thankfully today, there are many resources to help you understand what is involoved in making a will. There are also many options available to create a will.
This AARP article is a good place to start: 10 Things You Should Know About Writing a Will.
NOLO also has a whole bunch of legal articles on any topic you might need information on.
Most legal experts encourage you to go to an attorneys’ office to create legal documents. This used to be the only way you could make a will. It also was very expensive. Today, there are online sites that will help you create a will.
NOLO also sells estate planning software.
I have used Legal Zoom and highly recommend them! With Legal Zoom you create your will online. You then print it out, and take it to a notary where you sign it. You will need two witnesses that are not named in the will to go with you to sign. The current price is $89 for a basic will.
Legal Zoom asks you a series of questions and guides you toward whatever services you need for your circumstances.
In the United States, there are many resources for low income, disabled, or senior citizens to help them create wills, power of attorney documents, and living wills. Check out this article: 7 Sources Of Free Legal Services For Seniors.
A living will is a legal document that specifies what medical treatment you do or do not want in the case that you are so ill that you cannot speak for yourself. This document can be created when you make a regular will. Currently, Legal Zoom is charging $39 dollars for a living will.
It’s important that we discuss with family members what our wishes are before we become too ill to speak for ourselves. Five Wishes is a program of Aging With Dignity. It is:
“Written in user-friendly lay language, Five Wishes was the first advance directive to address personal, emotional, and spiritual issues in addition to meeting medical and legal criteria. Because the document is based on what is important to people, it has been widely embraced by families, community groups, faith communities, and medical and legal providers.”
Their website is very user friendly and has guides to help you think about and discuss end-of-life topics. You can access it here: https://fivewishes.org/#
One can also create a Mental Health living will “called a “psychiatric advance directive” or a “mental health advance directive.”” The following article discusses these in more detail. http://davidsusman.com/2015/10/22/psychiatric-advance-directives-a-living-will-for-mental-health-treatment/
Power of Attorney Documents
Sometimes a Living Will is called a Medical Power of Attorney. There are also legal power of attorney documents that allow someone else to pay your bills, and make financial and legal decisions for you if you are unable to do so. You can read more about these documents here: https://www.upbeatliving.net/health-matters-part-2-legal-documents/
Wrap-Up of Making A Will
I hope this information helps you think about your future wishes and create or update these documents as needed.
If you are able, please help me keep this blog up and running. You can donate here: https://ko-fi.com/upbeatliving Thank you!
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