An 11-Step Guide To Writing A Will At An Early Age

Creating a will might not be a priority for young adults like yourself. You might think that only wealthy older people prepare a document that details what happens to their assets. But writing one when you turn 18 could help you in various ways, especially if you already have property.  

But how do you write a will? In this article, you’ll learn the steps you need to take to write a will.   

Why Make A Will As A Young Person  

People aged 18 can create a traditional or online will for various reasons. Even with modest assets, you want to ensure your executor or trusted person will handle your affairs. You don’t need to make a complicated document, either. Your document can be as simple as naming your beneficiaries and the assets they get, signing it, and keeping it in storage.    

You can also keep updating your will by drafting a new one or adding different stipulations as you age. These additional statements explain or revoke the will or one section. It’s common to change the contents of the will as you continue to sort your affairs while going through various experiences. 

Young people also have different reasons to be ready by making a will:  

  • As a young parent or someone with younger siblings, you want to leave them your money or leave specific items you know they will like.
  • If you own a pet or pets, you want a specific person to take care of them when you pass away.
  • You’re supporting a good cause and want to leave your money or belongings to them.
  • You’d like someone to attend to your social media accounts when you’re gone, give instructions on how to delete them, and more.

Creating a will is a document of assurance because you can’t predict the future. Still, you can protect your assets by creating a will by hand or virtually. With this document, a court of law will award your savings, investments, and possessions to the people that matter to you. 

With that said, here are 11 steps you must follow in drafting your will:    

  1. Choose Between Hiring A Lawyer Ot Making An Online Will  

In a complicated financial situation, a lawyer can help you make more informed decisions, aside from simply writing a will. Since a lawyer knows more about the law, they can also explain what you must add to your will. But if you need a convenient way to create a will, you can look for a website dedicated to creating wills. You can choose whether to make a paid or free will online.  

  1. Identify Yourself By Name  

Stating your full legal name in a will is crucial because it allows your family or guardians to confirm you wrote it. It’s the only way they can identify who wrote it and for whom it was if you suddenly passed away.   

  1. Name An Executor  

The executor is someone you trust who will see they carry out your will’s wishes. It could be a family member or a friend who must also be detail-oriented. 

But if you don’t have family members, your executor can also be your lawyer or CPA. Avoid a corporate trustee because they charge 1% of the estate annually even if they have no task to fulfill. They all require you to entrust your assets to them, which can cost you more money.  

  1. Name Your Beneficiaries  

The next step is to identify to whom you will be leaving your assets or the ones who will be your heirs. It’s usual for most people to leave their properties to their immediate families. For instance, a young person could already be a parent and want to ensure their child gets whatever they have. If you own an estate, you can split it and name multiple people for it.  

Enlisting in the military or traveling away is another good reason for drafting a will. With a will, you prepare yourself and your assets if you pass away due to high-risk activity.     

  1. Give Instructions On Asset Distribution  

If you have a house or car, clothing, and electronics, you can add these assets to your will. Without a will, your assets will be subject to probate, which can complicate the process because you might not get your wishes. In this case, the court will decide how they will best distribute your assets. That means someone else will hold onto the assets or money you leave behind for your child.    

  1. Choose A Guardian For Your Children  

Young parents who wish to ensure their children will be cared for must assign a guardian. To consider those you think will be good candidates, you can include multiple names if any of them won’t accept the guardianship responsibility. Whether you are a new parent or someone with older children, you’d still want to be prepared in case, especially if you and your spouse are both gone.   

  • Their lifestyle must be similar to yours, including their values, culture, and religious beliefs.
  • Be practical and choose someone physically, emotionally, and financially able.
  • Someone whom your child is already familiar with.
  • If your candidate has children or is planning to have children of their own.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing your children’s guardian:  

You can also write other wishes you may have for your child, such as where you want them to go to school, the education they should have, extracurricular activities, and the values you want them to learn. You can also discuss information on pocket money and more.   

  1. Assign Who Will Get Your Pets  

The law considers pets to be properties and part of the estate. That means you can include your pets in your will as a gift for someone like you would a property. You can list the beneficiary’s name on the document. Ensure that you also name your pet specifically as your recipient will receive. The person who will welcome your pet is called a caregiver.   

If you own multiple pets, be sure to name the pet specifically, what kind of animal and breed, and the recipient’s full legal name. You might think of giving your pet to different people, so it pays to be specific.   

You can ask your lawyer to include a pet clause in your will. You can search for platforms that include this clause if you’re considering an electronic will. Be as specific as possible because your pets have specific health or dietary needs.    

  1. Include Your Digital Assets  

It’s no surprise you have various digital assets, such as your social media accounts, at an early age. If you’re also investing digitally or have mobile banking accounts, your will should also cover these. Here’s a list of other digital assets:  

  • Photos and videos saved on the computer, mobile devices, or cloud storage
  • Email addresses and other messaging accounts
  • Websites or domains in your name
  • Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin
  • Digital intellectual property like music or graphic art
  • Ebooks or music streaming software
  • Documents or files saved in storage devices
  • Fintech investments
  • Savings or checking accounts to banking accounts
  • Insurance policies

If you don’t list all the digital assets you have, your executor won’t be able to access them. They will need the login details to take out money and close the accounts. The court will also assign them to the beneficiary entitled to have them. If you wish to retain some accounts, you can include instructions on who can manage them and how you want them to manage your digital assets. You can nominate a trusted friend to take care of your digital assets if your family cannot.  

  1. Donate To Charity  

Suppose you have a charitable organization you support and want to donate to. In that case, you’ll need to include specific details in your will. This helps the court pinpoint one charity out of hundreds listed in your state.  

When including a charity, you must add the following information: 

  • Full name of the organization
  • Complete address
  • Employer identification number (EIN)

Charitable organizations might come with an extension, and you want to be specific to ensure the right one receives a part of your estate. The address and the EIN help the executor identify the right one when searching. For these beneficiaries, you can create an ethical will, a document to pass on principles, spiritual values, and wishes regarding your family’s future.  

  1. Describe How You Want Your Funeral  

You can even plan your funeral and give specific instructions on how to proceed. Do you want to be in a casket and have a wake or a cremation instead? Where do you want to be laid to rest? Make sure you write these down.  

  1. Sign The Will  

Have two legal adults who aren’t beneficiaries be a witness to the signing of the will. It can also be your lawyer. If you decide to make a will online, you can research how signing and witnessing work. 

Some services allow witnessing through video conferencing. Some platforms offer specific services, such as pointing to a financial power of attorney and living will. Know the services available to you to create an airtight document. 

In Conclusion 

You may be young as 18, but it’s never too late to create a will, especially if you have assets that you want someone to have. Your will is an official document containing your wishes, which you must sign and witness, so people will also know of its existence. Nobody knows what the future hold. Creating a will ensures that everything you have goes to the ones who matter to you.