When we had our daughter, we knew we needed to get our wills done.
That was almost 6 years ago.
What kept us from actually getting around to doing it?
New parents, no sleep, no time…. But almost 6 years? Yeah, it was more than just the time issue….
- Other priorities
Other priorities that were ranked above getting our wills done included working, doing side hustles, parenting, and just about any other excuse you can think of.
- Few assets
Honestly, we don’t have many assets. (We do have a lot of student loans… but that’s not something that seems to come up in the “will-ing” process… ha ha.) When L was born, we didn’t own a house. However, we did buy a house later on and, while did sell it again (woot!), we went through a period where we had an entire house and didn’t have a will.
We do have cars, savings in our retirement fund, and a little bit here and there, but we certainly don’t have the kind of estate that people are going to squabble over. In fact, we have always kind of figured that if both of us passed away (heaven forbid), it’s pretty clear that my parents or one of H’s brothers would adopt L. What few assets we have would just go to L, and my parents would make sure that happened. Although I know that it’s wrong to just trust that these things would happen the way we imagine, I do believe that our family members would have L’s best interests at heart and act out of love, truly.
All of our extra money is being thrown at our student loan debt. I didn’t really want to take any time off from it. However, our upcoming trip to France (when L will be staying with my parents) has kind of moved our priorities around. When we decided that we’d be setting aside $200 a month for “slush” money this year, I figured we should really use one month’s money to knock out the wills and do them right.
Ashley from Blogging Away Debt has also been working on this task – she came up against a few roadblocks, so I figured we really needed to go ahead and knock this out so we didn’t end up scrambling in June, trying to get things squared away.
How We Did It
I started first by googling (that’s pretty much how all of my “plans of attack” start, to be honest). I searched for online wills, free online wills, etc.
I researched a number of them, but ended up at RocketLawyer.com (<– not an affiliate link; they have no idea I’m writing this post). I made an account and pretty much within an hour I had written two documents for myself (a will and a living will) and had helped H make his as well.
It was super easy, and if I had needed to ask a question, my account level would have allowed me to “ask a lawyer” (you get one question per month at the basic level).
Even better, I was able to download the documents as PDFs and save them to our computers*, so they aren’t being housed only in the “cloud.” I could have gone ahead and downgraded my account right then (RocketLawyer will charge you after a month’s time to keep using the service), but I decided to wait until we had them signed, witnessed, and notarized. (I didn’t want to risk having made a mistake and needing to make a correction but not having the ability to do so.)
By the way, RocketLawyer has other kinds of legal documents you can create as well. I really do recommend the Living Wills in addition to a regular will, because you just never know….
And did I mention that the whole process was FREE?!
Getting The Wills Witnessed & Notarized
I had heard of others having trouble getting their wills witnessed and notarized. Some people found that they couldn’t use the employees at their banks (where they were going to get the wills notarized), so then they had to drag friends along with them (which can be difficult during the normal 9-5 work day).
I googled again (!) and found a place close by that had a notary on staff. I called and found it would be $5 for each “stamp” (or whatever they call it). I thought that would be okay (hey, I was able to actually create the wills for free!), but I decided to check with our Credit Union first.
All Hail the State Employees’ Credit Union!
When I called, they told me, “Sure, come on in whenever!”
When I asked about whether their employees could be witnesses, they said, “Sure! We do that all the time!”
When I asked if there was any cost involved, they said, “No way! It’s all free. See you soon!”
So we were able to go in two days after first creating our wills online and get them witnessed and notarized. It took about 30 minutes all together for four documents. Not bad!
I feel so much better having done this, and it was FREE! Way better than the $200 I was originally planning to spend…
I let my parents know that we had finally gone through with getting our wills and living wills done and that they would be receiving their own copies in the mail soon.
Then I downgraded our RocketLawyer accounts so that we can still log in (and even view and download the other documents we did), but we will not be charged a monthly fee.
The only problem we face now is that our documents don’t actually fit in the fire-proof safe box we use in our house. It looks like we may need to invest in a Safe Deposit box….
* I highly recommend saving your important documents in multiple places. We used Google Drive as well as our hard drives. We do, of course, have multiple hard copies of the documents, as well!
Do you have a safe deposit box? What do you keep in there? Have you made a will or living will recently? I’d love to hear whether it’s the norm or the exception to be able to create and notarize simple legal documents for free!