Why you need a will - and how to get one

  • Be prepared: Chris Hogan says protecting your wealth, and your family, with a will is one of the best gifts you can leave to those you love (File photograph)

    Be prepared: Chris Hogan says protecting your wealth, and your family, with a will is one of the best gifts you can leave to those you love (File photograph)

We all want to do nice things for our loved ones. We go on family trips and celebrate lifeís wins together. Itís sometimes difficult for us to consider the bad things that can happen in life, but we still have to be prepared. Thatís why having a will is so important!

Not having a will in place leaves room for arguments among your loved ones and anyone else who might pop up wanting a piece of your stuff. Thatís not okay! The last thing you want to do is add more stress to their lives after youíre gone. This is your legacy weíre talking about here. Do you want to leave that to chance?

Protecting your wealth ó and your family ó with a will is one of the best gifts you can leave to those you love. And with August being National Make-a-Will Month, thereís no better time to get yours done.

What exactly is a will, and why is it important to have one?

Your grieving family members wonít automatically know what you wanted them to do with your money or your stuff ó you need to tell them. Thatís where your will comes in.

A will basically establishes a plan for how your stuff is distributed after you die. Itís your way of saying exactly who gets what and what goes where ó and getting it down in writing.

According to a recent survey conducted by Ramsey Research, almost three out of four parents with kids donít have a will in place. Thatís a big problem!

How do you make a will?

Yanking out a sheet of paper and scribbling ďMy family gets all my stuffĒ isnít going to cut it. But making a will really isnít that hard. And in most cases, you donít even need to go to an expensive lawyer to get one done.

Here are seven quick steps that will help you create a will that sticks:

1, Decide what to include in your will. This includes a list of your savings and investment accounts, plus the paperwork for your home and any other real estate you own. You also might want to include valuable possessions, like jewellery or cars.

2, Select your beneficiaries. Now youíll get to decide how your stuff is split up and who gets what. Maybe you want half of your assets to go to your surviving spouse while the other half is split evenly between your kids. Whatever it is, get it in writing!

3, Choose an executor for your will. The executor is the person who will read the will and make sure that your wishes explained in the will are carried out.

4, Name guardians for your children. If you have young children, you need to decide who will take care of them after youíre gone.

5, Sign your will in front of witnesses. Donít forget this step! A written will is not valid unless itís signed and dated by the one writing the will, and signed by two witnesses.

6, Let everyone know beforehand. Your will shouldnít be a mystery novel. Do yourself a favour and read your will to your beneficiaries before youíre gone. Taking away the element of surprise could save a lot of headaches for them later on.

7, Store your will someplace safe. Make sure you put your will, along with other important documents, someplace that is waterproof, fireproof and accessible for loved ones to find. I personally have a wooden box of folders that contains my will and all related documents, filed nicely in a safe place where my family can easily reach it.

And if you need a helpful guide, this will preparation checklist can help you decide what you need to have in your will before you create one.

Donít wait another day to get your will.

Once youíve really thought through what you want to include in your will, you can prepare it in 20 minutes or less. There are plenty of places online that make it easy for you to create a will thatís specific to where you live.

No matter how much or how little you own, you need a will. Your loved ones will already be going through a lot when you pass away, and you donít want to add stress to an already stressful situation.

This article has been updated to remove a reference in point No.5 which said a will needed to be notarised by a notary public. This is not a requirement in Bermuda

ē Chris Hogan is a No 1 national bestselling author, dynamic speaker, and financial expert. For more than a decade, Hogan has served at Ramsey Solutions, spreading a message of hope to audiences across the country as a financial coach and Ramsey Personality. Hogan challenges and equips people to take control of their money and reach their financial goals through The Chris Hogan Show, his national TV appearances, and live events across the nation. His second book, Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth ó And How You Can Too, is based on the largest study of millionaires ever conducted. You can follow Hogan on Twitter and Instagram at @ChrisHogan360 and online at chrishogan360.com or facebook.com/chrishogan360

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Published Aug 10, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 16, 2019 at 6:32 pm)

Why you need a will - and how to get one

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