While it is understandable to want to push off preparing your will, it is a necessary part of ensuring your assets do not end up in the wrong hands. Because preparing for the distribution of your belongings may seem daunting, the will and estate planning attorneys at Rodier Family Law offer five tips to consider when drawing up your will.
List Your Assets and Beneficiaries
To begin preparing a thorough will, it is important to sit down and make a list of all of your assets and beneficiaries you desire to name in your will. Your assets do not have to include just your valuable items—many individuals preparing their will do not realize that any item, asset or property can be included in a will, regardless of value. Additionally, you should be mindful of who you name as your beneficiaries. Beneficiaries should be friends and family that you trust and who you know will appreciate or take care of your belongings after you part with them.
When drafting your will, be mindful of the specificity and detail of your language. If you include vague language in your will, or make the mistake of assuming your beneficiaries already know what you would like them to have, it may lead to confusion and tension as beneficiaries will have no way of properly allocating assets, especially if a specific asset is desired by multiple beneficiaries. In order to avoid any distribution complications between friends and family, it is important to pay attention to detail when drafting your will and seek counsel from an experienced will and estate planning attorney.
Choose the Right Executor
When creating a will, decide whom you wish to name as the executor who will be responsible for overseeing the transfer of your property and ensuring the wishes outlined in your will are respected. Most married individuals appoint their spouse as the executor of their will, but it is recommended to choose an alternate executor as well in case of an emergency. Whomever you choose as your executor should be someone trustworthy and close to you.
Leave a Personal Note
Even after you draft a detailed will, there still may be wishes you have that are not specifically outlined in your will. That is why many individuals also leave a personal note in their will including any additional wishes they may have. Your letter of personal instruction may include funeral arrangements, additional assets you would like to be allocated, locations of important documents and account numbers or even a heartfelt goodbye to your loved ones. No matter the content of your personal note, it is recommended to include one with your will to cover loose ends and avoid any issues with the distribution of your assets.
Protect Your Will
One of the most unfortunate will-related circumstances is when an individual passes and their family or friends are unaware whether the individual created a will or, if they did create a will, where they stored it. This can cause confusion and frustration within the family and, if a will is not found, the individual’s property and assets could be granted to the state instead of justly distributed to their loved ones. In order to prevent this unfortunate scenario, make sure you inform your friends and family that you are preparing a will and store the will in a place where you know your loved ones will be able to retrieve it.
Consult a Will and Estate Planning Attorney at Rodier Family Law
While these five essential tips will ensure your detailed and specific will include everything necessary for a smooth and prepared transfer of your assets, the number one tip for preparing your will is to consult an experienced will and estate planning attorney who can help guide you through the process. The experienced will and estate planning attorneys at Rodier Family Law understand the stress associated with creating a will and can provide legal counsel, sort out assets and draft a detailed will that includes all of your wishes. For more information on how the attorneys at Rodier Family Law can help you draft your will, schedule your free consultation today.