The mere thought of writing a will makes even the most amiable and upright people tremble like a leaf. While creating a will can make most people to develop foam at their mouths, it’s an important task for all human beings. Death is an inevitable thing no matter how much we wish it away. Making necessary plans while alive is the only way of leaving a legacy when your time to move on to the next world of the dead comes.
10 things you should consider when contemplating writing a will.
Everyone who wishes to create their will should have an idea of whom their beneficiaries are. You can name your spouse, children, siblings, charities, pets or organizations as your beneficiaries. You have the final say on who benefits from your will and who doesn’t. It’s that simple.
- An attorney is not necessarily required.
You do not necessarily need to hire an attorney to prepare your will. Nonetheless, consulting an experienced attorney can prove to be an invaluable thing. Whether you DIY or have your lawyer draft it, your will be considered a valid legal document provided it meets your state’s set legal requirements fully.
- Need a witness.
Wills are more powerful when signed by a trustworthy witness of your choice. You can designate your attorney or any other disinterested witness you can think of provided you make them sign self-proving affidavits for obvious reasons.
- You can Do It Yourself.
For your final wishes to be executed effectively, you need to designate a reliable, well-organized, honest, firm and loyal executor. An ideal executioner will pay your outstanding debts/taxes, close accounts and distribute your wealth according to your will without compromise.
- Guardians and Trustees.
You have the right to name a trustee or a guardian if all your children are below the age of 18 years. Should you die before naming one. Your state’s courts will have the obligation to take control by appointing whoever fits the bill legally. Don’t wait for the judge to do it for you, name a trustworthy guardian when alive.
- Wills need regular updates.
It’s wise to keep your will updated as time passes for convenience purpose. You could change your guardian, executor, beneficiaries, will details, or wealth distribution percentages as many times as you want. Will updates mostly occur as a result of divorce, marriage, death of beneficiaries / guardians / executor, wealth growth, inheritance or financial challenges.
- Wills should be kept safely.
You need to keep your will in a safe but accessible place preferably in a fireproof and waterproof safe in your home. Alternatively, you can keep an original copy in your local bank’s safe-deposit box but your beneficiaries will need a court order to access it. For convenience, keep copies with your attorney or trustees in case of anything.
You shouldn’t forget to include your pets in your will. Consider including a provision directing who of your beneficiaries is best suited to assume their responsibility. Consult the designees before putting it down in writing.
- Joint wills are not recommended.
Both you and your spouse should have separate wills according to probate laws since your deaths will not necessarily occur at the same time. Joint wills don’t make much sense in many states.
- Joint property with spouses not included in the will.
One cannot name a property he/she co-owns with their spouse in their will to avoid conflicts. However, joint property with siblings by tenancy allows you assign your percentage of ownership to whoever you choose as per your will.