It’s possible to draft a will on your own. However, it’s important to realize that a will is a binding, legal document. If done incorrectly, errors and omissions could be administered as they are written, even if its not according to how you wanted your assets distributed.
Many people know they need to create a will, but only worry about the finer details when they decide to sit down and start. Then, the average person realizes he or she have more than just a few questions about how the process works.
One of Canada’s largest insurance and financial services companies, The Co-Operators, offers a few helpful tips for people who are about to create a will. Below are a couple of important points you may wish to discuss with an estates lawyer before deciding on how you want to administer your estate:
- Estate planning: Creating a will is only one part of an overall plan for how to handle your estate. The will covers what happens to your estate after you pass away. What happens to your estate while you’re still alive, but are physically or mentally unable to make decisions? Who’s going to make decisions on your behalf about your health? You may want to explore other estate planning documents, such as Powers of Attorney and creating trusts.
- Validity: When you draft a will, it’s important that you are creating a will that is valid, and will be upheld in a court of law. At a very general level, the basics of creating a valid will are two-fold. You need witnesses sign the will (and not just the signature page at the end – witnesses need to have seen the entire will). You also need to be capable of writing a will, meaning you are in the right state of mind to understand what you are doing, and the implications of your decisions.
- Will kits: As mentioned above, its possible to create a will on your own. However, it’s important to consult with a legal professional experienced in estate laws to make sure that your wishes are carried out as you would like them to be. It’s also important to have a legal professional review your will to catch any shortcomings or pitfalls, and advise on any little nuances that only a lawyer would know to include.
Once you have considered these points regarding your will, you will be more prepared on how you wish to proceed on creating an estate plan that covers all your assets.