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The Essentials of a Basic Will

August is National Make a Will Month, which is the perfect time to think about the future and make sure your wishes are known. Creating a will might sound like a big, formal legal thing, but it's really about taking care of your family and making sure everything goes the way you want it to. In this guide, we'll break down what goes into a will and why it's something you might want to consider.

What is a Will?

A will, also known as a "Last Will and Testament," is a legal document that spells out how your assets and property will be distributed after you pass away. It's like a roadmap for your loved ones, helping them fulfill your final wishes. But it's more than just about money and possessions; a will can also cover guardianship for minor children, funeral arrangements, and other personal matters. Understanding the key components of a will is the first step towards creating a comprehensive estate plan.

The Importance of a Will

Think of a will as a tool that brings clarity and confidence to both you and those you care about. Without one, state laws take over, and they might not distribute things the way you'd want. Creating a will means your unique wishes and family's needs are met. It's about more than just assets; it's about appointing guardians for your children, deciding who gets cherished belongings, and more. A will puts you in the driver's seat, giving you control and peace of mind, and it can even help avoid family conflicts down the road.

What Included in a Will

While there are many different types of Wills, there are some main components that all will likely include:

  • Executor: Naming an Executor determines who will ensure the wishes in your Will are followed. You can specify Joint Executors.

  • Beneficiaries: You'll designate beneficiaries who will inherit your assets and possessions. This can include family members, friends, charitable organizations, or anyone else you wish to leave a legacy to.

  • Guardianship: For parents, appointing a guardian for minor children is often a major motivation for establishing a Will. Those with pets need to consider this as well.

  • Assets: A Will outlines how your assets or personal property go to your heirs, specifying who gets what.

  • Real Property: Any building or structure you own at the time of your passing. Sometimes, a Trust owning real property makes sense.

  • Final Arrangements Instructions: Specifying funeral arrangements and wishes for your remains is a significant part of Estate Planning.

Essential Documents in a Basic Will

A basic will typically includes several key documents, each serving a unique purpose:

  • Last Will & Testament: Outlines how your assets will be distributed and names an executor to carry out your wishes.

  • HIPAA Authorization: Allows designated individuals to access your medical information, essential for making informed decisions on your behalf.

  • Living Will: Specifies your preferences for medical treatment if you become unable to communicate your wishes.

  • Power of Attorney (POA): Grants a trusted person the authority to handle financial or medical decisions if you are unable to do so.

How Easy Is It to Set Up a Basic Will?

Start by assessing your needs, considering aspects like assets, guardianship, and specific wishes. Explore your options by researching online tools or consulting with an estate planning attorney to find the best fit for your situation. Creating a will is more accessible than ever, and here's why:

  • User-Friendly: Many online tools guide you through the process, making it easy to understand.

  • Affordable: Various pricing plans fit different budgets.

  • Customizable: Tailor your will to your needs, including additional documents like living wills.

  • Ongoing Support: Many services offer customer support and even attorney assistance.

  • Unlimited Updates: Some platforms allow unlimited changes, keeping your will current.

Once you're ready, create your will by following guided processes online or working with a professional to draft it. It's essential to review and finalize your will to ensure accuracy, and you may want to have a legal professional review it. Store your will in a secure location and make sure trusted individuals know where to find it. Remember, circumstances change, so regularly review and update your will as needed to keep it current.

Bottom Line: Take Action Today

National Make a Will Month is a reminder that planning for the future is an act of love and responsibility. Whether you're in your 30's or approaching retirement, creating a will is an attainable goal for everyone. There's no time like the present to take control of your future. Celebrate National Make a Will Month by taking action today.


The information contained herein is intended to be used for educational purposes only and is not exhaustive. Diversification and/or any strategy that may be discussed does not guarantee against investment losses but are intended to help manage risk and return. If applicable, historical discussions and/or opinions are not predictive of future events. The content is presented in good faith and has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable. The content is not intended to be legal, tax or financial advice. Please consult a legal, tax or financial professional for information specific to your individual situation.

This content not reviewed by FINRA

Alchemist Wealth, LLC is registered as an Investment Adviser with the State of Ohio and only provides advisory services in states where registered or otherwise exempt from registration. All information provided herein is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be viewed as investment advice. Any links to third party information or data are believed to contain accurate information at the time of publishing.


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