The Questions Everybody Asks About Last Will & Testaments

November 06, 2020 by Dan Green

Can I change my last will and testament after I make it?

Yes, you can update your last will and testament after you make it. The generally-recommended practice is to destroy your old will, and then to make a new one. This way, there are no questions about which parts of your will should be enforced, and which parts should be ignored.

You can file the paperwork for a will online, or with an attorney.

Should I do a joint will with my spouse or partner?

In general, it’s a bad idea to do a joint last will and testament with a spouse or partner.

There is very little that a joint will can do that cannot be accomplished with separate, individual wills. Also, joint wills stay in effect until both persons die.

Life changes when a spouse or partner in a relationship dies. The interests of everyone involved are often better served when separate last will and testaments are used.

Joint wills can be limiting.

Do I need a lawyer to prepare my will?

You do not need a lawyer to prepare your last will and testament, although some people like to use them.

The advantage of using a lawyer to prepare your last will and testament is that you can have your legal questions answered by a professional.

It’s probably best to use a lawyer when you’re using a will to set-up long-term care for a loved one; or, to distribute large amounts of money among a family.

For most people, though, wills are more straight-forward. You fill in a form, assign your heirs, and are done in a matter of minutes.

Do-it -yourself wills are equally effective and just as legal as wills that are written by a lawyer. The big difference is that you’re spending less money to get one.

What is a living will? Is it the same thing as a last will and testament?

A living will is different from a last will and testament.

A living will is directions for a person’s medical care when they’re unable to communicate their wishes to physicians. It has no power after a person’s death.

By contrast, a last will and testament has power in death only. It describes how a person’s possessions and family members should be cared for after that person has passed.

Do I need a will if I’m single?

If you’re single and at least 18 years old, you should have a last will and testament.

Your last will and testament gives directions for handling your possessions after your death; and can provide instruction for caring for your pets.

A will can also be used to pass your savings to your parents or siblings or friends; or, to donate items or money to a charity that’s important to you.

When you die without a will, none of this is possible.

Do I need a will if I don’t have kids?

You don’t need to have kids in order to make a last will and testament.

The purpose of a will is to tell people what to do with your money, your pets, and your possessions after your death. These instructions matter regardless of whether you have children.

If you don’t have kids, use your will to pass your savings and possessions to friends, parents, and siblings; and, to donate your possessions to charity. Address the needs of your pets in your will, too.

Without a will, none of this is possible. Without a will, the government takes over instead.

If I don’t have money, do I need a will?

You don’t need “lots of money” to make a will. You don’t need any money, really. The biggest reason you get a will is for the protection.

When you die without a will, the government takes possession of your money and your things, and splits them among your family based on a formula. And, your family may not know how you’d like to buried.

Your will provides direction. Regardless of your money, you want to make sure you have one.

How much does it cost to make a last will and testament?

The cost to make a last will and testament varies.

When you write your own will online, you can expect to pay less than $50. If you prefer to work with an attorney, expect to pay around $400.

The attorney will write a simple will for you which includes instructions for your money and possessions; for the care of children and your pets; and, for your funeral.

If your finances include a business and complex financial agreements, expect to pay $1,000 or more to an attorney for the drafting of a will.

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