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Some people think that if their estate is very simple or they are planning to leave everything to just one person, they can simply write that down on a piece of paper, put their signature below, and that piece of paper will be considered their will. However, things are not that simple, especially given that some states don’t even accept holographic wills as legal documents. As a result, more and more individuals are taking to the internet in search of will templates. These templates usually have the required will format with all the elements arranged in the appropriate order.
While there are numerous websites that offer sample will forms, eForms is one of the most popular choices. This site offers ready-made will templates, as well as customized wills for an extra cost.
Sample Will Template
While will templates are quite popular among people who want to make a will on a budget, using an online will maker website is a much better choice. These services offer customized, easy-to-make wills that are extremely affordable. In addition to tailoring your will to your state’s laws, online will makers allow you to include numerous things in your will that templates simply don’t have.
Things Not Covered by Online Will Templates
While sample last will and testament forms give you the basic structure of a will necessary to make it legally valid, they lack many things that could be important to you.
A lot of people choose to leave certain valuable items, family heirlooms, or things that have sentimental value to specific members of their family. For instance, somebody might want to leave their wedding ring to their unmarried granddaughter to use for her wedding, etc. Unfortunately, pre-made will forms don’t give you the opportunity to make special requests.
If you want to disinherit someone, you can’t just leave that person out of your will and assume that this guarantees they’ll get nothing. You need to explicitly state that you don’t want to leave any of your assets to that individual, and list your reasons for doing so in the will. This is done to prevent the person from contesting your will and trying to get a portion of the inheritance.
Guardian for Minors
If you have children that have not turned 18 yet, or there are other people in your care that are legally considered to be your dependents, you should use your will to appoint one or several legal guardians for them. Unfortunately, most last will and testament templates don’t give you this opportunity. As a result, your children may end up with a court-appointed guardian or they may even have to enter the foster care system if your will doesn’t specify who should become their guardian.
Trust for Minors
If you die before your children turn 18, and you haven’t put the assets that you’re planning to leave to those children into a will trust, a court then manages that inheritance until your children become legal adults. This means that your child’s guardian will have to request approval from the court every time they need to spend a portion of the child’s inheritance to cover his or her education, healthcare, and other financial needs. To avoid these bureaucratic hurdles, a customized will allows you to put those assets in a trust and appoint a trustee who will have the authority to use the funds in the trust to care for your children.
Additionally, by setting up a will trust you can specify when you want the inheritance to become available to your children. Without a trust, it will happen when your children turn 18, but most people choose to give children access to their inheritance when they are older.
Resignation by Trustee
Customized wills can also specify when the trustee needs to provide a notice if he or she intends to resign from their position. In most cases, they will be asked to provide a notice 60 days before resigning. Pre-made wills typically do not specify what should happen in relatively rare situations like this one.
Pet Directive, Guardian, and Fund
Your children are not the only ones that depend on you for their care. If you have a dog, cat, or any other pets, you need to make sure that they will be taken care of if you die unexpectedly. Unfortunately, a lot of pets end up in shelters or even on the street when their owners die, so you need to make sure that doesn’t happen in your situation. Customized online wills allow you to add a pet directive to your will, appoint a pet guardian, and even set aside funds that will go toward your pet’s care.
If you’re creating a customized will, you can use the document to detail how you’d want your funeral to be conducted, how your headstone should look, whether you’d like to donate your organs to scientific research, etc.
Signing Your Will
Each state has different requirements for signatures that need to be on a will. In some states, wills need to be signed only by the testator; in others, they also need signatures of two witnesses and a Notary Public. There may also be certain restrictions on who can be a witness to a will. Online will makers provide detailed instructions about actions you need to take to make your will legal, while will templates leave you to research those details on your own.
Best Paid Will Templates
Below, you will find a few of the best will form providers on the market today. All of these services offer affordable wills that are 100% customized to your unique situation. If you create a will using one of the websites below, you will be able to include detailed provisions for your children, pets, various special requests, etc. in your last will and testament form. Unlike wills created by attorneys, which can cost between $200 and $1,000, most online wills cost less than $100 to make. Some services also allow you to choose whether you want to buy a single document, an estate planning package, or a subscription. A number of companies even offer attorney consultations where you can have your online will checked by a real lawyer.
One more affordable alternative to an attorney-created will is a DIY will kit. These kits typically contain several will templates for traditional family structures (e.g married couples, people with children, etc), along with a set of instructions on how to fill out each template. You can also purchase DIY living will and living trust kits. DIY will kits are a much better choice than free templates that you can find on the internet, since DIY kits include several options that suit various needs. However, DIY kits are still not as good as documents created with online will makers. Unlike wills from online will makers, documents in a kit are not customized to the laws of different states and don’t always address nuanced estate and family situations. DIY will kits also don’t come with customer support, attorney consultations, or detailed instructions and tips at each stage of the will creation process. If you’re looking to create a simple will for a single person and planning to purchase a will kit, consider the advantages of using an online will maker instead.
Concluding Words About Using Sample Last Will and Testament Forms
There are several options you have when you need to create a will: you can write the document yourself from scratch, use a will template, create a will using an online will maker, or go to a lawyer to make a will. While using a will template is certainly preferable to writing a will yourself from scratch, you will get a much better result if you use an online will maker. Unlike simple will templates found on the internet, online will services allow you to create affordably priced customized documents that include everything you need. To find more resources about wills, check our our last will and testament guide page.