Making a Will; 5 reasons to not procrastinate

Thinking about Making a Will, but not managed to get started? don’t worry, you are not alone. Unfortunately, many people procrastinate the estate planning process for a variety of reasons. People might think that estate planning is complicated, time-consuming, or will cost them hundreds of dollars in fees.

Making a Will

According to a survey by legal insurance firm LawPRO, 56% of Canadian adults do not have a Will, more than half of them because they either don’t know how to get started or think they can’t afford to. The numbers are almost identical south of the border: the American Bar Association cites 55% of American adults as not having a Will or estate plan. Continue reading

A Joint Will, Mutual Wills, Reciprocal Wills explained

We get this question almost every day; “I would like a will for my husband and I. This is only letting me do one will. How do I get a joint Will that will allow us to give what we have to each other?

Joint Will

Couples have several options when writing a Will together. Among them are:

  • A Joint Will;
  • Mutual Wills;
  • A Reciprocal Will or Mirror Will.

Defining a Joint Will and Mutual Wills

A Joint Will is a single document that allows for a couple to combine their Last Will and Testament. Normally, one partner inherits the entire estate when the other dies. When the second partner dies, the estate will be handled as agreed to by both partners. Continue reading

The six most common errors in a do it yourself Will.

Every once in a while a news article appears that describes how a person made a mistake when preparing a “do it yourself Will”. The legal profession often latch onto these articles as a warning for anybody thinking of preparing their own do it yourself Will, suggesting that if the person in the article made a mistake, it follows that you should probably seek legal advice.

Clearly people make mistakes. Even lawyers make mistakes when preparing Wills, like this one who had a couple accidentally sign each other’s Wills. However, it would be disingenuous to use this example as a cautionary tale, and suggest that you should avoid using a lawyer because they always get things wrong.

So I have gathered up some recent news articles, and looked at some of our own support questions and listed the six most common mistakes people make when preparing a do it yourself Will.

do it yourself Wills Continue reading

I’m young, I’m single. Special considerations on writing a Will.

Most people have not got around to writing a Will. According to a recent survey 64% of adults in the US do not have a Last Will and Testament. The more significant concern though is that in the younger age groups (people under 35) the percentage is much higher.

90% of Americans aged 18-34 do not have a Will
80% of Americans aged 35-44 do not have a Will
83% of single Americans with children do not have a Will

The primary reason for this is that young single people simply don’t feel that they need a Will, and of those that do, writing a Will is certainly not an urgent task. It ends up being something that they simply haven’t “gotten around to”.

Writing a Will

Here are some considerations for young single people who fall into one of these two camps; the deniers and the procrastinators. Continue reading

Writing a Legal Will: the worst advice we have seen yet

writing a legal Will

Much of our customer support effort is spent on correcting misunderstandings that have usually arisen from bad information that has been posted on the Internet. As with anything that you do once or twice in your lifetime, the terms will be unfamiliar, and there will be a lot to learn. But the task is made that much more difficult by woefully incorrect information that proliferates on different “advice blogs”. The example at the top of the page is from a reasonably well respected resource at Nerdwallet (we couldn’t help but post a comment under their article, so they may have fixed it if you click through). But this staff writer, who doesn’t appear to have any legal training has written; Continue reading

How to write a Will: your 10 step guide to success!

Everybody knows that they need to write a Will, but the stats show that only about a third of adults in the US have managed to get it done. Some say it’s the cost that puts people off, others say that it’s finding the time to make an appointment. In our experience of fielding calls through our customer service center, the real issue is that most people have no idea where to start. A very common call we receive is “I know I need to write a Will, what do I do?”. Here we have ten steps to go through to prepare your Will.

1. Choose your approach

You can take one of three approached to write a Will. The cheapest is to use a blank sheet of paper, or a blank form kit, and fill in the blanks explaining what you want to happen to your things after you have died. Continue reading

Living Will: Some definitions of our service

I actually think it’s a good idea to have a living will. I’d encourage everybody to get one. I have one; Michelle has one. And we hope we don’t have to use it for a long time, but I think it’s something that is sensible. – Barack Obama, 2009

One of the most confusing services that we offer at USLegalWills.com should be the simplest. But in the US there are countless terms being used for very similar things, and we will try to decipher these terms in this article on the Living Will. Terminology does change though, so it is possible that this article can become out of date. Please fee free to add corrections or updates in the comments below.

The Living Will

A living will is a written, legal document that spells out medical treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive, as well as other decisions such as pain management or organ donation.

A Living Will is much more than Continue reading

The Online Will

We are seeing an increasing number of articles about “online Wills” but the definition seems to be vague. Let us explore what exactly is meant by an “online Will”.

What is a Last Will and Testament

There are clear laws as to what constitutes a legal Last Will and Testament and these laws are quite consistent across all jurisdictions. To be a legal Will, the document must be written or typed on a piece of paper, and usually it must be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses who have nothing to gain from the contents of the Will. We say “usually” because in some jurisdictions they accept a “holographic Will” which is entirely written in your own handwriting, and does not require the two witnesses.

There is one other exception; Continue reading

The 4 critical people in your Last Will and Testament

You probably know that your Last Will and Testament is a description of how your estate will be distributed after you have passed away. It gives you an opportunity to recognize the people and organizations that have had an impact on your life and insures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. But beyond the distribution of your assets, this article will highlight four key appointments that are made in your Will.

Your Executor (or Personal Representative)

This person has the responsibility to carry out the instructions in the Will and without a Will the Executor will be appointed by the courts. It’s a difficult appointment to make because you need to find somebody with the organizational skills to collect your assets, file your taxes and provide reports to the beneficiaries.

The Executor has to of course be trustworthy, Continue reading