FIRE: DIY Filing a Will in Your 20's
The WAY TO EARLY estate strategy you need during FIRE
Let's lead with why the hell we care about doing this terribly boring task early on in our FIRE journey.
To note, I say "early on" specifically as you may require a significantly more comprehensive estate plan/will once you actually reach FIRE as more money/people/taxes will be at stake.
We care because if we die and do not have a will:
- The state in which your reside gets to decide how your assets are distributed
- You will pay the state 3%-8% of your total assets for the privilege of doing this
- It is possible that the ones you actually care about receive nothing
- People that you do not like may actually end up with all of your money (if your immediate family is no longer around, it would go to your parent's relatives)
- Your fiance/domestic partner could receive nothing
So nothing great & it's almost certain that all of your hard work will go to someone who does not deserve it.
So that leads us to how we can create our own, without an expensive lawyer.
So there's really just 3 steps here.
The first is to create the actual will.
It's not that hard and you can for FREE here: https://www.doyourownwill.com/do-your-will-online.html
I make zero money and no affiliation with that company - I just love free shit that's legit (and I vetted them + used it personally).
Once you create the will there, you may need to do some of the following (based on your state of residence)
Witnesses: You’ll need two non-relative witnesses who aren’t included in your will.
Signature: Your completed will needs to be printed and signed.
Notary: While not always required, it’s a good idea to have all legal documents notarized.
Once completed, the only task left is to maintain a copy that can be located in the event of your untimely death.
Ways to do this would be maintaining a digital file (it is 2020), maintaining a hard copy in a safe location (old school), or filing your will with your state clerk of court or Register of Wills for safekeeping.
The last option is likely the risk-free play (finance nerds rejoice) and only those named specifically named at the time of filing will be able to access the will.
So there it is.
A zero-cost way to file a will early in your FIRE journey that will ensure that your hard-earned savings/investments do not end up with some asshole who doesn't deserve it (after being taxed by the state).