Writing one’s will is certainly not easy, but it’s important nonetheless. Although it can take an emotional toll on a person, writing your will and making decisions yourself is better. Making a will is daunting, but the mental peace that comes with it is much more significant, bio urns.
If you have a lot of assets, it will become difficult for your heirs to decide between them. It can be very complicated and even can result in conflicts. Also, if you have a specific wish about your wealth distribution, the trusts you want to donate to, etc., you can state everything in the will.
Writing a will for a layperson is not as simple, though. Some critical points might not cross an average person’s mind. In this article, we point out four questions you should ask yourself before you write your will.
- Why Do I Need a Will?
Let’s start with the basics. Most people don’t ponder over this very important question and leave no will behind. People believe that all their belongings will get distributed after they have passed on to their families. Even though there is some element of truth to this, leaving no will can lead to fights between friends and family, as it’s not simple to distribute assets and a lot of hidden complexities come to light.
You should make a proper will so the distribution of your assets is clear. If you want to write a will, which you should, you don’t need to panic, thinking it’s a long or difficult process. You can even write your will online, and it will not take long to do so.
In case you have no next of kin, your assets will go to the state, and they can use them the way they want. However, you might have wanted to donate your assets to a trust, a religious organization, a charity, a close friend, etc. Thus, writing your will to ensure your wealth gets distributed the way you want is necessary.
- What Should I Include in My Will?
It’s important to include every necessary aspect in your will to avoid any confusion. You can ask your lawyer for advice regarding what to include in your will. You might also need to provide relevant documents for some things mentioned in your will. In general, you must include these things in your will:
- Funeral Arrangements: how and where you want it to be or anything related to costs of the funeral
- Distribution of Assets: this includes decisions about all physical assets like houses, cars, property, etc., and financial assets as well, like investments, shares, etc.
- Rights and Powers of Family Members: you might want to give the right or power to a specific family member or members to make certain decisions like appointing a trustee for your family trust or anything that you leave the decision up to someone else
- Guardianship of Minor Kids: if your kids are not adults yet, it’s wise to nominate a guardian for your minor children yourself
- Other Specific Belongings: you might own some prized possessions like artwork, jewelry or expensive handbags, etc. you must decide about their distribution
- Unpaid Debts: determine the procedure to pay off any debt you might have, e.g., selling a specific property to pay it off, etc.
Among these, debt is something people forget about. However, it’s an important part of your will. If you pass away, the debt still needs to be paid off. That is why deciding how it will get paid off is wise.
- Are There Any Wealth Distribution or Inheritance Laws?
You can distribute your assets according to your preference. You can name the beneficiaries and distribute your estate among them. Most people pass their inheritance on to their spouses, naming children as secondary beneficiaries. However, your will must comply with the law; otherwise, it might get challenged and overruled in a court of law.
Different states have different rules about inheritance and estate property that you need to abide by. For example, you might want to donate all your money and assets to a charity, but in some states, spouses and children have inheritance rights, and they will get their inheritance according to those rights. Some states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, etc. have different community property rules. In these states, the spouse is automatically the rightful owner of half of their partner’s earnings during their marriage.
In other states that are non-community property states, the spouse can claim up to one-half of the estate of their deceased partner. Even if the deceased disinherited them, they still have the right to claim. In some states, according to rules, the living spouse can claim an amount that depends on how long they were married. However, if the distributions you have listed in your will are not disagreed upon by your spouse, then there will be no issue. But a dissatisfied spouse has the right to challenge the will in court.
- Who Should I Nominate As An Executor?
It is necessary to nominate an administrator or executor for your will. An executor, as the term suggests, is someone who ensures that all your wishes and decisions in the will are fulfilled, and everything is going according to your will. You can even nominate two executors if you want. Keep in mind that it’s a very crucial thing.
Most people don’t give it much of a thought and simply make their spouse or adult child an executor; while it may be alright in some cases, mostly, it can result in much more chaos because first, an executor must be a person who should be able to carry the responsibility of executing your will. In case you pass on, your grieving spouse or child might not be in the right position to carry this immense responsibility. Second, an executor must have some knowledge of financial terms and asset management, inheritance laws, etc., thus a knowledgeable, mature person. Moreover, a person might not want to take this responsibility for personal reasons.
It’s best to discuss and ask the potential administrator you want to nominate if they will be alright with this responsibility or not. When you discuss it with the trusted person you want to nominate, they can share their thoughts before time, ask you about any ambiguities they don’t understand, or even suggest someone else for the role.
Estate planning is necessary as it will protect your family’s future, and you can be at ease that your wishes will be taken care of if you are not around. You can write your will, too. Answer these four questions and draft your will accordingly.