Get A Will

One of the best ways to steward the resources entrusted to you is to have an up-to-date Will that reflects your personal values, provides for your loved ones, and blesses the charities you care about. Below are some practical resources to help you get a Will. 

 

1. Get Help in Person

Save time and money by filling out our Wills Guide (PDF Download) on your own before you see an attorney or estate planner.

How do i find a lawyer?

If you decided to use a lawyer to create or update your Will - or review your Online Will - you'll want to find an attorney who shares your values and is knowledgeable in estate planning. 

There are 2 sources you can check for a referral to a trusted estate planning attorney:

  1. Christian Legal Society. You can go online for a referral from the Christian Legal Society network of attorneys. 
  2. Contact Us. You can contact our office for a referral.

 


Do i need a lawyer to make a will?

No. There is no legal requirements that a Will be drawn up by a lawyer. Most people can use quality, fill-in-the-blank legal documents to take care of basic concerns such as leaving their property to loved ones and naming a guardian for young children. However, there are a number of situations where it would be highly recommended to work with a lawyer instead of an Online Will:

  • If you have significant assets
  • If you have a special needs, disabled, or dependent adult child
  • If you've been divorced or re-married
  • If you think one of your heirs might contest your Will
  • If you own a small business
  • If you are concerned about guardianship issues for minor children
  • If you're raising grandchildren or stepchildren
  • If you or your spouse are citizens of another country
  • If you have questions about your Will or the Online form doesn't address your situation

Online Wills aren't for everyone. In fact, even if you get an Online Will, we would recommend that you consider getting it reviewed by an attorney for added peace of mind.


Including charity in your will

Here are the most commons ways to significantly increase your ministry through your Will:

  • Add "Charity" to your family. Some families treat charitable organizations like an additional child. For example, if a family has three children, they might add a fourth child named "Charity" and divide the assets in their Will into four equal parts. Each of their children would receive 25%, and the remaining 25% would be divided among their favorite charitable organizations. 
  • Tithe on your Estate. Other families commit a 10% tithe of their estate to the charitable organizations they love, dividing the remaining 90% among their heirs.
  • Cap. Others prayerfully decide to "cap" their children's inheritance, leaving the rest of their assets to ministry. This approach is used when parents want to provide a modest gift to bless their children and eliminate concerns of creating dependence or giving too much too soon.
  • Update an existing Will. An attorney can add, delete, or change an item in your Will with an additional statement called a "codicil." Here's an example: "I give, devise, and bequeath twenty-five percent (25%) of my residuary estate to [charity name] whose address is [city, state, zip code]. Like a Will, a codicil must be dated, signed, and witnessed. 

Leaving a gift in your Will to a charity that you love is a great expression of your personal values, and it may be simpler than you think. If you would like to do this, consider including this language in your Estate Plans by following the sample here.

Sample bequest language


2. Get help online

Most people can fill out an Online Will in less than an hour. Click below for links to three of the most popular Online Will sites. 

 

Most Online Will sites guide you through a simple 3-step process:

  1. Answer Questions. You'll be guided through a series of fill-in-the-blank questions about your wishes regarding your family, your property, who you want to be in charge of making sure your wishes are taken care of. The questionnaire is often provided at no charge, and most people can complete it within about 30 minutes.
  2. Review Answers. You'll have an opportunity to review your answers for completeness and accuracy. Some sites also provide online tools and "ask a lawyer" features to give you a more in depth review.
  3. Finalize Documents. The last step is to receive your documents online or in the mail. The Online Will site will also provide instructions for getting signatures to finalize your documents, as well as storage recommendations.

how do online wills work


Is an Online Will right for you? Below are 4 reasons people get an Online Will:

  1. Affordable. Let's face it. When it comes to getting a Will, cost is a big concern for many people. A lawyer may charge you $500 for a basic Will (and a lot more if your estate is complicated). But most people can get an Online Will for less than $70.
  2. Easy. Online Will sites provide simple questionnaires that the average person can answer in about 30 minutes or less. With an attorney, you may have to schedule a couple of face-to-face appointments to review your information and to finalize your documents.
  3. Quality. Do-it-yourself online legal documents have been accepted by court and government agencies in all 50 states. Some of the most popular Online Will sites were started by attorneys - and offer high-quality, legally valid, state-specific Wills.
  4. Private. Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of discussing their financial and family information with a complete stranger. Although attorneys are required to keep your discussions confidential, many prefer the anonymity of fill-in-the-blank online forms.

4 advantages of online wills