Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning
Planning for your own death is often low on your priority list but it is an inevitable fact of life. You’re going to die someday. If you die without a will or a trust, your death creates an additional burden on your loved ones, probate. In addition, who will take care of your children? If you don’t spell out your wishes, the courts will decide for you. And their choices might be far from yours.
In many cases, creating a will can be a simple, do-it-yourself job. In others, a qualified estate attorney may be more appropriate. You can create a comprehensive will or even a living trust using software such as Quicken Willmaker.
When you die, anything you own is called your estate. Estate planning takes into account your assets, debts, children and federal taxes. You can learn how to prepare your estate to avoid probate and reduce taxes by using this software. The help files answer all of your questions in the form of a twenty five chapter legal manual. You’ll learn whether a will or a living trust is most appropriate for your estate, how to leave your property, how to choose your executor, how to make it legal, how to update your will and much more.
This product is highly rated and extremely easy to use. If you’re accustomed to doing your own taxes using off-the-shelf tax software, you’ll be comfortable using Quicken Willmaker. It uses an interview format where you simply fill in the blanks about your personal information, financial information, children, medical directives and wishes. It won’t take long before you’ve answered the questions, filled in the appropriate forms and have a completed will ready to print out and be witnessed.
The will must be witnessed in order to be considered valid. You’ll need to sign your will in front of at least two witnesses, in each other’s presence, in most states. Vermont requires three witnesses. The software addresses the requirements of each state and has an update feature where it will search for updates about changes to any of the laws governing each of the fifty states.
In addition to the will, the software creates instructions for the executor of your estate so that each step he needs to take is clearly spelled out. It contains checklists, forms, notices, letters and other useful tools to assist the executor in his job. You’ll want to print out the instructions and include a copy with your will.
You can also use Quicken Willmaker to spell out healthcare directives, your final arrangements and wishes for your funeral service.
While you’re at it, the software comes loaded with all kinds of legal documents including a living trust, healthcare directive, durable power of attorney for finances, and over fifty additional documents you may need over the course of your life. You can use this software to get your affairs in order and also to make other documents such as bills of sale, childcare arrangements, authorization for minor’s medical treatment, place your name on the “Do not call” list, create credit repair documents, request credit reports and much more.
Quicken Willmaker makes it easy to stop avoiding the inevitable. It’s relatively inexpensive at about $50 and will give you the peace of mind that should you die, your wishes will be made clear.