11 Making a will checklist to consider when writing a will

Kreg Bale
Kreg Bale January 3, 2020
Updated 2022/06/02 at 11:30 AM
making a will checklist
making a will checklist

This article will give you 11 making a will checklist you need to consider when writing a will. Also, you may hire an attorney or write it yourself and then get an attorney to review the document.

What is a Will in Summary

According to Investopedia, A will is a document that spells out who should get your assets after your death

What is a Will in Detail

Testament, Money, Hand, Write

A will is a legal document that sets forth your plans regarding the inheritance of your property, wealth and the care of any minor children.

If you die without having a written will, those wishes in your mind may never be carried out. Rather your wealth might fall into the wrong hands who will waste it recklessless as they didn’t work for it.

On the other hand, your family and children may end up spending additional time, money, and emotional energy fighting and settling dispute regarding who is taking what when you are dead.

When making a will checklist, these are thes questions your have to answer. From hiring a lawyer or to do it yourself down to naming an executor of your will.

The 11 making a will checklist

Hand, Write, Ballpoint Pen, Paper

  • Hire a lawyer or write it yourself?
  • Name an Executor
  • Name a guardian and/or trustee
  • Make an inventory of your assets
  • Specific bequests are usually sentimental in nature
  • Non-probate property
  • Joint or separate wills?
  • Living Will – yes or no?
  • Storing your will
  • How often should you update it?

However, there are things that you need to know to make the document valid. They include having an executor and a trustee, inventory, non-probate property and so on.

Many people don’t want to consider a situation that is as certain as death. Also, they procrastinate about writing a living will when anybody could be incapacitated and that document will speak for them.

making a will checklist as the name implies is a checklist of things to note and bear in mind when writing your will. Often times, these things might not seem important at first but experiences has shown how devastating your families condition could be if those things where not taken into consideartions in your will

However, if you don’t write a will, you would create a crisis when you are no longer around. So it pays to write a will when you are of sound mind. Let us see what you must consider below.

This Making a will checklist has factored in all the important things that people miss when writing their well


Making a will checklist you need to consider

Yes, No, Maybe, Consent, Select, Choice

  1. Hire a lawyer or write it yourself?

I know some people who like to do everything on their own would like to write their own wills personally. But this is not advisable because it is a delicate document that has a format and must follow some rules strictly.

However, if you are a DIY person, write it but take the finished document to a lawyer to check and make sure it meets your state’s laws so that it is valid.

  1. Name an Executor

Pick a trusted executor who could be your lawyer or a close friend or relative when writing a will. Who is an Executor of a will?

It is this person that will carry out all of your instructions on the written document or will. Also, this person will pay all of the bills, hand over all of the assets, and complete all other things.

  1. Name a guardian and/or trustee

You should choose a guardian or trustee if you have young children or pets. You do this to make sure there is a trusted person that will look after them when you are no longer around.

Also, you should get another person that will be the trustee for their estate or the property they will inherit in the future.

  1. Make an inventory of your assets

When writing a will, first you have to know what you have, before you decide what you will give to anyone. So you should make a list of all of your physical assets, digital assets like Internet domains and social media accounts.

Also, you can include everything no matter how trivial they may be.

  1. Specific bequests are usually sentimental in nature

You can give things that hold sentimental value out, first. But, you should note, that if any major changes occur in your estate before you die, it could have a big effect on the proportionality of the remaining gifts.

You should also note that any monetary value of the gift is subject to an inheritance tax.

  1. Non-probate property

When writing a will, know what a Non-probate property is, so that you do not add them to the list of things you want to transfer on your will.

You should also note that Non-probate property is any item that is not managed or controlled by the probate courts. These are joint property, insurance, and investment benefits.

So anything that is owned or titled jointly with beneficiaries or that will transfer naturally to the surviving joint owner is not to be added in the will. Do this properly and confirm these non-probate properties.

  1. Joint or separate wills?

It is better you have separate wills for married couples because joint wills may not be recognized by some states. Also, keep this in mind when you want to prepare a will.

Besides, many lawyers will recommend separate wills if you are married.

  1. Living Will – yes or no?

When writing a will, you may consider getting a living will or not. So the easy answer to that question is yes. Many people ignore preparing this document yet it is so important especially at the end of life cases.

For example, if you are unable to speak, a Living Will is an advanced instruction to healthcare practitioners to act on. This document is your healthcare power of attorney.

And it will work according to your instructions when you are unable to speak.

  1. Storing your will

You ought to keep your will in a safe place but make sure it is accessible. The reason is that probate courts normally need it before they can start proceedings.

Also, you should keep a signed copy with your attorney or a close relative you trust.

  1. How often should you update it?

When writing a will, you must think about how often you will update it, to keep it fresh. Also, it is important you review your will every five years, or when a key life change happens.

For instance, if your children are old enough then they do not need a guardian, or if a spouse is now an ex, or a beneficiary dies.

In addition, you need to review tax laws or other state laws, that may have changed since you prepared the will originally.


Question and Answer

Do you need a Layer to make a Will?

With some do it yourself guides and templates, you can successfully execute the making of your will but in cases where you have a lart asset and a complicated family structure, it is highly advisable to engage the service of a professional Lawyer

Can somone challenge your will after you are gone?

It is very rare for such to happen even though in some cases this had occured in the past by a member of your family who feel cheated by what you had willed.

Even at that, your will still stands valid except the person challenging your will has enough evidence to prove that the will was highly flawed.

This can happen in cases where the will is deemed to be signed by you like a forged signature, or one that is deemed to have been written by you under a bad state of mind or you were influence by someone under durest to write or sign the will

Is it a must to Notarize your Will?

No, you do not need to notarixze your will for it to become valid but you need to have at least two witnesses to sign the will. On the flip side, there are states that require you to Notarize your will in other to make it self-proving


What heppens if I don’t write a Will?

It is not advisable not to write a will because in the event that you pass away, your properties might be taken away by the state. In a general content off course your will will go to your chilldren or close relatives but in the case that none of them could be reached, This could happen.

Can I revoke my will?

Yes, you will can be revoked, amended and updated from time to time as long as you are still alive


Conclusion on making a will checklist

In this post, I shared 11 making a will checklist that you should tick when writing a will for yourself as these are the things you need to consider when writing a will. They are important and you should follow them strictly.

Now that you have this guide, go ahead and prepare that will instead of putting it off again. The document may save your life in case you are incapacitated.

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