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Create Your Will for Free

Nonprofit organizations can help you draft this crucial document for little or no cost

Get your will done for free

Numerous free resources can help you draw up a new will or update an old one. — Photo by Derek E. Rothchild/Getty Images

Do you have a will? If you’re like nearly two-thirds of Americans, you don’t.

With the downturn in the economy, many older people may think that getting or updating a will is hardly a priority, especially if they don’t have a big estate.

But you do need one. Even if your assets are small, a will can help loved ones avoid squabbling over what little there is and carry out other important decisions you’ve made. For instance, in a will you can declare whom you want to be the guardian for minor children or dependents.

If you die without a valid will, you risk having very personal questions settled by a third party administrator, usually appointed by a probate court.

Is getting a will expensive? It can be, but there are also numerous free resources to help you draw up a new will or update an old one.

  • Wills on Wheels. After her handicapped son died, Jean Turner of Denver needed to update her will for her three surviving adult children. But Turner, 79, had neither the money nor the mobility for the legal task. She lives on Social Security and a small pension as a retired hospital nurse assistant and suffers back pain so severe she is homebound.

    Wills on Wheels, a volunteer committee of paralegals and attorneys in the Denver area, came to Turner’s rescue — literally. They drafted Turner’s will, advance medical directives and a financial power of attorney. The documents set forth Turner’s treatment choices if she cannot speak for herself and name someone to act on her behalf in financial matters.

    They delivered the documents to Turner’s home and witnessed the signing of the documents — all for free. Although they are not affiliated with each other, there are Wills on Wheels programs in other states. To see whether there’s one near you, type “wills on wheels” followed by your state into an Internet search engine.

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