No one wants to think ahead to their final resting days.
But there are some essential documents you need in place before your death. A last will and testament will ensure the distribution of your assets to your loved ones in accordance with your wishes.
Let’s take a look at the most important things to keep in mind when creating your will and where to start.
What Does My Last Will and Testament Cover?
So, you may be wondering exactly why you need a will and what’s covered in it.
A will dictates your final wishes. This document outlines all of your assets – home, car, bank accounts and all other possessions – and who is intended to receive them.
You want to be the one in control of where your belongings and money goes. Perhaps you have a favorite pair of earrings you intend to leave to your granddaughter. Or a family heirloom promised to your nephew.
Without a last will and testament outlining exactly where you want your items allocated, the state will take control. This means the government will step in and divide your belongings as they see fit. This could mean selling your items at auction.
Now that you’ve determined the importance of having a will, let’s cover what goes into creating one.
Appoint an Executor
Choosing your will’s executor is a big decision. This will be the person responsible for administering your estate. They will ensure that your wishes are followed and any debt or taxes connected to your estate are handled properly.
Responsibilities of the executor include:
- Collecting all assets of your estate
- Paying any debts
- Paying taxes (state and federal)
- Distributing the assets in accordance with the will
It’s in your best interest to also select an alternate executor. This person will step-in if the appointed executor is unable to carry out the duties. Both of these individuals should be people you trust and are capable of handling your estate in a timely fashion.
List All Beneficiaries
Your last will and testament should outline all those individuals you want to receive a portion of your estate. Be specific about who receives what and how much.
This will save a lot of time and aggravation after your passing. You don’t want to imagine your family and loved ones arguing over your estate. A will helps prevent this from happening.
It’s also important that you list all of your children in the will — even if they will not be receiving any part of your estate. Not listing all kin leaves your will open to contest, which can cause complications and delays.
A will needs to be signed by at least two witnesses before it is considered legal. It’s suggested that these witnesses are not listed as beneficiaries, as this may cause debate over whether or not the assets were allocated under duress.
Ask for Help When Writing your Will
Your last will and testament is a precious document that should not be written carelessly. After your passing, attention should be paid to your memory, but to dividing up your belongings.
Drafting a will ensures that your memory and belongings are honored in accordance with your wishes.
This is not something to be taken lightly. Eliciting the help of professionals will guarantee your will is clear and legal.