Creating and Updating Your Will

Text reads "Creating and Updating Your Will" on a bright orange background. An image to the right shows close-up of an elderly hand holding a blue pen, poised over a document. Another hand, possibly of a younger person, points at the document, seemingly assisting in the process.

1. Decide how you would like to create your will

Choose whether or not you want a lawyer to create it. Many people choose to create their will with a lawyer; however, it is very possible to do so without one and avoid the legal fees. If you choose to do it without a lawyer, you may want to use a template on a website such as Fabric or Legal Zoom.

2. List out your assets … and liabilities

Think about everything you would like to include in your will. Maybe that includes any material items or pets. You should also include any liabilities you have and who you would expect to pay them, otherwise, by law, the executor of your will is automatically expected to pay them. 

3. Select your beneficiaries

Your beneficiaries are the people who receive your assets when you die. Most people choose to leave even amounts of money to their children, but they may also include other people as beneficiaries. You should include a residual beneficiary, who is a person, organization or charity, who will receive any money left over from your estate.

4. Name guardians for your children

If you have children under the age of 18, discuss with your loved ones who will become the guardians of your children if anything should happen to you. Once you have chosen these people, make sure you give them access to distribute any funds they may need for your children, such as funds to pay for college. 

5. Choose an Executor

This is the person who will carry out your will and see that everything is handled as you wanted. The person you choose as your executor should be level-headed and highly ethical. 

6. Leave your funeral preferences

You may want to include this in a separate document, but you should make it clear what you want your funeral to look like and make your loved ones aware of this.

7. Sign your will in front of witnesses

Be sure that the witnesses who see you sign your will are not your beneficiaries or they will be disqualified from receiving any of your assets. It is important to be sure you are following the proper protocols in your state when it comes to making your will official. 

8. Keep your will in a safe place

Keep a printed copy of your will with other important documents in a fireproof and waterproof file to ensure it will never be destroyed.

9. Update your will as needed

As your life changes, it is important to continuously update your will. You may have children (or more children), your assets may change or new people may become important in your life. So keep your will up to date as your life changes. 

DailyPay is dedicated to helping you improve your financial well-being by providing tools, such as PAY and SAVE, to help you avoid overdraft fees and save for the future. 

Looking for more financial wellness tips? Check out our financial wellness resources.

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