Regardless of your age or financial situation, the most critical step you can take right now in estate planning is to draft a will. Drafting a will requires careful thought and planning. Your will serves as a legal declaration of your intentions. And will lawyers are the experts in drafting wills.
When considering your will, you want to make sure that it will accurately reflect your intentions and wishes including a list of your most valuable possessions.
Whether you decide to make your will or hire the legal expertise of will lawyers, use this list of the top things to consider when drafting a will.
Top Things to Consider
If you die without a final will and testament, you will die intestate, which means that state law will decide where your possessions go. And the outcome may not be what you would have preferred.
Here are things to think about when making a will. The more you plan ahead of time, the easier the process becomes.
1. Who will be your executor
The executor, often the personal representative, is in charge of your estate’s administration. This person should be someone you trust implicitly. Also, this person must be responsible and organized since running an estate entails a significant amount of paperwork.
You should consult with this person to ensure they are willing to become your executor. Inform them where they may find key documents such as your will, insurance policies, and online financial account passwords.
2. Who will write your will
Consider the many will-writing possibilities. You can hire an estate planning attorney or. A will and estate lawyer may charge a flat rate based on the complexity of your affairs. Or you can create your will yourself.
will lawyers can also represent you in probate court. It’s worth noting that many probate lawyers don’t handle litigation. If you need a San Diego probate attorney, make sure Kam Law Firm has probate litigation experience.
3. The beneficiaries in your will
Your beneficiaries are the individuals who will inherit your real and personal property under your will. Usually, these are the people closest to you, but you should also consider what would happen if you and your spouse died simultaneously.
The more explicitly you describe your wishes in your will including unexpected or unusual scenarios, the better.
When leaving an inheritance to more than one person, your will must specify how they ought to divide the estate. This could involve distributing particular amounts of money, a certain property, or a percentage of the estate. Make a list of everyone you want to remember in your will ahead of time. An attorney can advise you on various methods to divide assets and prepare for future generations, so feel free to be sure of your preferences before meeting with them.
If you want to give money to charity, include the charity’s name, address, and registered charity number in your will.
4. Think of your assets
Make a list of your assets, possibly categorizing them. You should also make a note of the approximate worth of each asset and whether or not there is a mortgage or loan.
If you own substantial assets such as a house, land, or car, you must correctly identify whether you hold this asset alone or jointly with someone else (for example, a spouse or business partner). There are two ways to share ownership of real estate with someone else. If an item or piece of property is “jointly owned”, the remaining owner will immediately inherit it when you die. You will not include the jointly owned asset in your will. If you own an item as “tenants in common”, you may deal with the piece of property you own in your will.
In addition to examining the form of property ownership, make sure you know where your house’s certificate of title is. You can keep it at home or in the bank. After someone dies, replacing missing or lost titles is costly and time-consuming.
5. Enduring power of attorney
When drafting your will, you should consider drafting your powers of attorney.
Considering a person for power of attorney means giving someone the authority to make choices for you when you are unable to make them yourself. It delegates decision-making to a trusted individual whom you have chosen. This could include handling your financial affairs or making personal decisions on your behalf.
You can also make an enduring power of attorney when you make your will.
6. Complex situations
Life isn’t always simple; there may be complexities in your family, financial situation, business, and so on. The good news is that your will can be tailored to your circumstances. The best approach to achieving this is to think about, speak with, and discuss your situation with a solicitor or professional will writer. By doing so, you ensure that you properly document your intentions and wishes.
The following are examples of complex circumstances that need careful thinking when writing your will:
● Excluding someone who would ordinarily stand to gain from your generosity
● Previous marriage/divorce or other family issues
● Providing for a special-needs beneficiary
● Having a self-managed superannuation fund is useful
● Being a director of a company
Make sure to explain these specific circumstances to the will writer. This information may be kept on file and used if a claim is made against your estate.
When your circumstances are more complex, we strongly advise you to seek the counsel of specialist will lawyers to ensure that you correctly document your intentions and wishes.
7. Choosing a legal guardian for minor children
When one parent dies, the other parent usually gains custody of the minor children, but this is not always the case. Furthermore, both parents could die at the same time.
Consider who you would like to raise your children if you died so that you can select a legal guardian for any minor children in your will. Include a backup plan if your first option cannot take responsibility. Also, consult with your selected guardian(s) to ensure they agree to step in and care for your children.
Once you have a will, you must ensure that it continues to reflect your current intentions and wishes. This is why adjusting your will is critical. Consider marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and other life events. Review the terms of your will at least once a year.
You’ll be doing your loved ones a favor by relieving them of worry in case of an already stressful time.