Living well Your Health & Wellness

How to make your own will

Written by Diane Archer

If you do not already have a will or would like to revise your will, you should consider making your own will. It’s actually pretty easy to do. Paul Sullivan reports for The New York Times on tools available on the web to make your own will.

Some online tools for creating a will are simple to use. It can take less than an hour. The companies offering online tools are for-profit, but they provide services for free or at little cost. You can check out FreeWill, Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom.

If you have family, friends or charities to whom you would like to leave some or all of your property, you should have a will. That said, almost six in ten Americans die without wills, including a lot of celebrities. Aretha Franklin, for example, did not have a will. So, do not think of yourself as an outlier if you do not have one.

FreeWill allows you to create a will and leave money to charity at no cost. You can change your mind about which charities to leave money to, as many people do, over time.

Rocket Lawyer costs $40 a month and will link you with a lawyer. You can get help with legal documents online.You are billed separately for time you spend speaking with a lawyer.

LegalZoom gives you access to a lawyer and help with your power of attorney and health care proxy in addition to the will. The cost for a year is between $149 and $349. The cost includes the lawyer’s time.

Online tools to help you create a will may not serve you as a well as a lawyer. If you can afford a lawyer whom you trust, you may want to invest in one, especially if you have a lot of assets. That way, you will be sure you dot all your i’s and cross your t’s when you create your will.

You should have a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy document in addition to a will. The durable power of attorney gives someone you trust control over your finances–to the extent you desire–if you are not able to act on your own behalf. The health care proxy document identifies someone you trust to act on your behalf and express your wishes in a medical crisis, if you cannot speak for yourself.

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