There is no room for error when writing a will. Every adult should have a will that is updated on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at some of the top considerations you need to make when creating your will.
You must name beneficiaries in your will. Beneficiaries are the individuals or charities who will receive your assets when you perish. Most choose a spouse and their children, in that order. Some select friends, siblings or charitable organizations. Think through all the possible scenarios to ensure that there will be a living beneficiary. If your family were to perish while traveling, it would be unwise to have a will that does not include friends or others as last resort beneficiaries.
A clearly written will is even more important for adults with minor children. Your will should name one or more guardians who are charged with taking responsibility for your children. While the surviving natural parent is typically the first choice, designate a couple of backups as well. Discuss financial considerations for your guardians and children. Your estate planning attorney can walk you through the many options you have available to ensure your children are taken care of physically and financially.
You must decide on a personal representative/executor. This is the individual who goes to court to present your will once you’ve passed. His or her role is to ensure that the wishes explained in the will are followed. This means distributing property to individuals and charities named in your will.
Most assume that the executor they name will gladly accept the job. However, those asked to perform this role do not have to accept the job. They can refuse as the duties often become too burdensome. Be sure to choose someone you trust as an executor. If you have any doubt as to whether a certain individual is worthy of being named as an executor, do not hesitate to ask for assistance from a professional.
If you have very young children, consider whether they are equipped to handle the responsibility of an inheritance. Sometimes an influx of money or real estate is not something a young person can handle. If your child is a minor and you fail to name a property guardian, the probate court will select an individual to serve as the guardian.
Cover all of Your Assets
It is imperative that your will covers all of your assets. Do not overlook any form of property including IRAs, life insurance policies, 401(k)s, etc. Those who are designated as beneficiaries of these assets will inherit them even if your will says otherwise.
The Bigger Picture
When your will is in place, you should double check everything to ensure that your beneficiary designations are proper. The designations on your qualified plans and life insurance, including payable on death/transfer on death/beneficiary deeds/joint ownership, should be clear as well.
Consider Relying on an Attorney for Help
Whether you have a simple or small estate or net worth, or a rather complex financial situation with numerous assets and several different beneficiaries in mind, an attorney can help. Sometimes, leaning on a family member or friend to be your executor is too onerous a responsibility for that person. A will is a complicated document that must be error-free. Rely on an experienced professional to help you craft a flawless will and you will enjoy priceless peace of mind.
At Shelton & Power LLC., we can help you create a plan for the future for both your business and your personal assets. Whether you are planning for future medical care or deciding how your loved ones will be supported upon your death, our legal team is here to help with living wills, living trusts, charitable trusts, charitable remainder trusts, guardianships and more. Contact us today to get started on your will.