No one likes thinking about the “what ifs” in life—and especially those that have to do with death. However, a will can be a huge help to the family when someone passes away, whether it is expected or unexpected. Helping an elderly family member prepare a will is an enormous job, but taking on this task can help them feel more secure and may make your future jobs easier too. Here are a few tips that can make the process a little easier, and perhaps help you broach the subject with your mom or dad.
Remember to Find State-Specific Information
Each state has different laws when it comes to wills and how they are handled. Make sure the information you are referencing is correct for your particular state so that you don’t wind up in a difficult legal situation in the future. It may surprise you, but a will that is entirely legal in one state could cause a long drawn out problem in another. A little research now could save time and effort later.
Consider Consulting an Expert
While saving money by doing it yourself is always a good thing, certain tasks are too big to accomplish on your own. If you get to a point that you think the job is too big to handle alone, don’t be afraid to contact a probate lawyer. It can be less expensive to have a professional will drawn up than you may think. Doing this can help make certain nothing is overlooked.
Online Tools Are Available
On the other hand, if the will that is being created is simple, creating it online may be a good option. There are a number of online tools that make the will-making process easier than trying to deal with all the details “by hand.” An online tool can often be a happy medium between trying to do it all by yourself and spending the money hiring a professional. Just make sure you are working with a program that is up to date and reputable. Also, don’t rely on a computer program as the “final copy.” Make sure you print out a paper copy and have it notarized, to make certain it will be accepted as a legal document when the time comes to reference it.
Don’t Cross Any Lines
While you want to help your mom, dad or other loved one by setting up a will, make sure you are not crossing any lines—or leaving the appearance of doing so. Because wills are such touchy matters, it may be best to get someone else involved in the process to make certain that nothing is being done that would make anyone feel uncomfortable. Taking a few extra steps can be well worth it to ensure everyone is happy with the results.
With anything involving finances and legal matters, it is vital that you take the time to record as much of the process as you can. By recording, videotaping, and putting in writing as much information as you can, you will protect everyone involved in the process. Documentation is always essential, and this is something that any professional will tell you if he or she is completing the process for you.
While it is not always easy to talk about wills or any wishes about what may happen after death, it is best to make plans so that all requests will be met. Be open about this subject and encourage your loved ones to do the same. It is important to keep the lines of communication about this subject open for everyone involved. Remember that a will can always be changed later, so it is best to get something written down today—just in case the unexpected occurs. The family will be very appreciative of the effort you make.