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Finishing Up a Not-So-Fun Task – Creating a Will

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We didn’t have a will. While we don’t have many assets to speak of at the moment, if something horrible should happen to us, the courts would decide where our son would be placed. He could even end up in foster care for a while until the courts make a decision. That makes me cringe. It’s not a fun thing to discuss, but we needed a will.

Back near Christmas, I received a gift certificate to Amazon.com, so I bought Suze Orman’s Will & Trust Kit (aff. link). It was backed by financial guru Suze Orman and it was at a price I liked (under $15) so I gave it a try.

The kit comes with a CD that works for Windows or Macs. Upon launching the program, an internet browser window is opened and you create your username and password. I’m not sure why you even need a CD because all of the information is done through the web browser. Looking back at Amazon, it said that it was the online version so I guess that could be why.

Going through the program is really easy. You are prompted for information and you enter it and each screen gives just the right amount of information in easy to understand terms so you understand what you are doing. There is also an option to hear Suze or her attorney discuss the different parts of the will but I ended up hitting mute on those. I’m more of a reader when it comes to things I don’t understand. Once everything is filled out, you view a draft version of your will with easy to click places to make changes. When you are finished, you download your will to PDF to print.

It took less than an hour and now I have a will, a durable power of attorney for healthcare, a financial power of attorney and a final instructions form (that indicates my wishes for a funeral, etc.). It was so very easy to do. A little depressing, but easy to do.

Things would have been more complicated if we had more assets and if I had things that I wanted to leave to specific individuals. For us, the wills are mainly for our son to make sure he is taken care of and no fights break out over his custody (although I doubt they would – but you never know). It feels good knowing that there is something in writing that indicates my final wishes.

At some point in the future, we will need to update our wills as our assets grow and our debt decreases. The great thing about the program is that you can easily go in and update certain sections of your will and leave everything intact (if you choose to save the information – you have the option). The only thing I’m not sure of is how well these would hold up in court. The program even gives full disclaimers before you print the final version of anything. But it is better than nothing and for $15 it didn’t break the bank. Of course, once our assets are larger we may want to consult with a lawyer. I feel the program did its job for our needs at this time.

The program also claims that it includes more than $2,500 worth of customized documents. I’m not sure on that dollar amount, but there are quite a few documents not necessarily related to your death but related to your finances. Under the Credit & Debt section, there are links to calculators to help you create an action plan to get out of debt as well as trimming your expenses. Most of the information there can be found by searching the internet, but it is nice to have it in one place.

One more thing on my to do list is done πŸ˜‰


10 Comments

  • Reply Cookie |

    I think that is a great step and more people should be aware and making their wills regardless of their financial status.

    TIP: I’m not sure if you’ve considered this but you can allocate your assets as a percentage (%), instead of a dollar value, that way you don’t need to be constantly updating your will as your financial status changes and protects your assets if not updated for the loved ones you leave behind. Just a thought.

  • Reply Lyndsey |

    Just a thought about “updating” your will: I don’t know what state you live in, but each state has different rules regarding which will should be probated if two wills are in existence. You may need to consult with a lawyer to find out what to do and what language needs to be included in the next will. Also, make sure you have someone to witness your signing of the will – otherwise it is useless. You can also get a self-proving affidavit (I believe this needs a notary present for signing) which will help during probate of your will – no need to call the witnesses to testify that they saw you sign.

  • Reply Lucian's Mommy |

    Hey Tricia
    I loved this post. We keep putting off and putting off making a will. We have a 6 month old son at home and there really is no excuse. I have the same feelings about what will happen to him if we should die. I just wanted to say that reading this has made me declare this weekend Will writing weekend. πŸ™‚
    I found a website that helps you write wills for free. It’s http://www.nolo.com. They have other legal forms as well. Thanks!

  • Reply arduous |

    Out of curiosity, if you have a will, does that mean that the people you will your money to are also responsbible for any debts you have when you pass away?

  • Reply Joy SMith |

    I didn’t know that Suze Orman has a will and trust kit! I love her work/advice! I have a will, but I need to revise it completely.

  • Reply Family Man |

    My wife and I keep talking about it, but we need to do it soon. We know that custody of our children may be a major sorespot, as we don’t plan to leave custody to either set of grandparents. (My blog explains why) Thanks for your tips! Love tha advice in the comments.

  • Reply Rachel @ Master Your Card |

    I really must get round to sorting out my will too. i have been meaning to do it for about 5 years now and as I have toddlers now the need is even greater. I think that one of the main things putting me off is that I have no idea who to request care for the boys if anything should happen to me and my husband. I know plenty of places where they will be well cared for but I just hate the thought of anyone bringing them up except me.

  • Reply MVP |

    It’s simple: if you’re married and/or have children, you NEED a will. There’s no two ways about it. We’re lucky and have a family law attorney in the family, so we got ours free of charge, within a few months after we got married. I think it’s about $500 if you go with a lawyer. Now it’s done, and we can move on to other things. Like life insurance! (another necessary if you’re married with kids)

    P.S. Don’t forget about the living will portion. You need to specify how you want to be treated if you’re incapacitated. We also made provisions for our pets. Oh, and make sure someone close to you knows where the will is located or has a copy. In our case, our family member who’s the lawyer has a copy.

So, what do you think ?