Most people are aware that they should have a will, but the vast majority of people – about 70% – do not. Writing a will is easy and inexpensive, and once you are done you can rest easy knowing your hard earned money and property will be distributed according to your wishes. As well, if you have minor children, you can leave instructions as to who will be responsible for them if you pass, leaving that decision out of the court's hands.
To complete a will, you must be at least 18 years of age and must be of sound mind when the will is written. For a will to be legal, it must:
- Expressly state that it is your will
- Be computer generated or typewritten
- Be signed and dated
- Be signed by 2 or 3 witnesses, and these witnesses must be people who don’t stand to inherit anything in the will
Although you do not need a lawyer to complete a will, it is strongly recommended. Working with a lawyer will minimize or eliminate potential legal issues after your passing. Once your will is complete, it should be kept in a safe and secure location outside of your home. If you work with a lawyer to complete your will, most law firms will store it for you safely as part of their services. Is not recommended that you store your will in a safety deposit box at a bank, as the contents could be sealed at the time of death in certain circumstances. The executor of your will should be aware of its location.