The first time I recall my parents mentioning their Will was before a trip to Alaska to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.
My Dad had written up a list of instructions for what to do if their plane were to go down. I remember trying to play it off and not think about the possibility. Luckily, the trip went like clockwork, though they've reminded me of the list ever since.
I am now in uncharted territory, having very little debt and a lot of savings. As a result, and in the event narco-terrorists or a gonzo sting ray knocks me off, I decided it would be prudent to draft a Will before leaving the country.
In addition, I wanted to give my Mom Financial Power of Attorney so she could act on my behalf (such as being able to deposit money into my accounts, cash checks, help me with my taxes, etc.).
Rounding out the legal trifecta would be an Advance Medical Directive in case I end up in a vegetative state someday.
Initially, I expected to have to hire a lawyer to help me draft all of these legal documents. However, my Dad suggested I could find standard legal documents online.
A few Google searches led me to discover Quicken Willmaker Plus, which would allow me to create all the documents independently for less than $50. I bought the software and spent this past Sunday afternoon filling out the questionnaires for each document.
The software leads me through each step in easy-to-understand yet detailed language. Since I do not have a printer, I downloaded some freeware to “print” the documents into PDF files.
It took a little extra time, as I had to play with the margins to ensure the page breaks were in the right place (as the documents can be rendered null and void if things don't line up correctly).
I'd estimate it took a few hours. I have a small family, and being single, without children or real estate, I could skip many questions.
My parents are reviewing the documents, as I named them my agents and executors. If they sign off, I need to round up witnesses and a notary to make it all official.
Surprisingly, I hit this drab task head-on while I've managed to put off updating my resume for five years! Go figure.