July 22, 2008, 6:00 am

Basics of Estate Planning Part 2

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Planning
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Here’s another piece of death on this beautiful and sunny Tuesday. How about you would be dead by the end of the day? Is everything is settled before you pass away? Are you sure that your spouse, kids, family will benefit from your assets as you wish? This is the reason why I am writing this series on estate planning. The good thing about planning your death is that it is pretty simple. However, you need to get started in order to make sure that everything is ready for the biggest trip of you life. What a morbid approach for a financial subject, isn’t?


In my first article about basics of estate planning I have discussed the reason why you need a will and the possible way you can get a valid will. Today, we are going digger further into (your tomb?) this topic so we can review the 3 types of valid will with their pro’s and con’s.

Holograph Will

This is the most basic type of will as it is written by the person and do not need to be witnessed. It has to be handwritten so we can acknowledge who wrote the will (it obviously has to be the deceased). The main and probably the only advantage of this type of will is that it is free and quickly done. You simply take a piece of paper, write it down and you are done (don’t forget to sign please!).

However, unless you are a lawyer or a notary, you will probably forget eventualities that may leave your will incomplete. For example, if you wish to leave everything to your spouse and she/he passes away with you, your estate will be ruled according to laws in place once again. You may also wish to split your asset in an inappropriate way. For example, if you are married, you can’t take out your wife/husband out of your will completely for some reason (that is called divorce and you can’t divorce when you are dead!). Therefore, Holograph will are more easily contestable.

On another note, it may be destroyed or lost since you will probably hold it at your home. People need to know that it exists and where it is.

Will Kit

Another cheap alternative is to purchase a will kit at a library. It is a pre-written document and you only have to fill-in the blanks. Once it is done, you need two witnesses and you are done. You have much better chances to have a valid will but if you have specific wishes, they may not be included in the document. You also must be aware that the witnesses cannot be included in the will (conflict of interest).

Notarized Will

The last (and definitely the best) way to write a will is to have it done by a lawyer or a notary. They are specialized in this field so they will be able to guide you in your decision and cover all aspects. They would also keep your will in a safe place. The problem is that nothing is free in this world! Lawyers and Notaries charges big bucks compared to the other two alternatives. However, knowing that your will is in a safe place, that it will be found upon your death and that your last wishes will be respected means a lot.

Overall, I strongly suggest that you go ahead and schedule a meeting with a lawyer/notary in order to have a valid will. It’s the only way that you will be assured that you won’t cause any trouble to your relatives.

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