10 Things To Include In Your Will
Creating a will for yourself is one of the most important everyone should do in their lifetime. Doing so will not only benefit your family, friends, and significant other, but you’ll know that your assets will be distributed according to how you want them divided.
But many people have so many things that it’s hard to include everything, let alone decide who gets what after passing on. Of course it’s not expected for you to decide instantaneously which assets you want to give to who, but time should be spent when making these decisions as it may change their lives.
So here is a list of 10 things to include in your will. Don’t forget that an experienced will and trust attorney can help you determine what exactly to include and how to draft it so there is no confusion once it takes effect.
10 Things to include in Your Will
1. Nominate a Personal Representative
Also known as an executor in some states, this person will be in charge of ensuring that your will is carried out properly. This includes dividing your property and assets accordingly. Or if this person becomes unavailable or is unable to carry out this responsibility, consider adding a secondary person to the will as a plan B.
2. Name All Beneficiaries
Your beneficiaries can include your children, family, friends, charities, and even past coworkers. These are the people who will be receiving your assets, such as cash, personal property, and real estate. An estate planning attorney can help you figure out who to list and which assets to assign to whom.
3. List Alternate Beneficiaries
When creating their wills, individuals often assume that their beneficiaries will outlive them. But this is not always the case, so listing alternate beneficiaries will clear up some confusion in a “what now?” situation. Just make sure you have a backup recipient for each person, such as their spouse or child, should anything happen to them in the future.
4. List Individual to Take Remaining Property
It’s hard to list every piece of property you own in 1 document, but as long as you have the important assets like your house, car, and additional properties assigned, the rest can be assigned to one specific person.
Many individuals often choose their personal representative to fill this role as it’s already their responsibility to ensure that the will is carried out accordingly.
5. Provide Directions When Dividing Personal Property
When the assets are divided among the beneficiaries, it should be specifically explained what exactly will be for who. It should also explain whether they will be given directly to them or sold and the value divided among the beneficiaries. This can be equally or each is given a specific percentage. Your estate planning attorney can also provide some assistance when stating this in the will.
6. Provide Directions When Dividing Business Property
Business assets should always be separated from personal assets because they often are property of a company, separate from an individual. Business owners will also have specific ideas about who they will want to take over their business.
If you don’t have a written plan as to who will take over after your passing, an estate planning attorney can also help with drafting the plan so that it is carried out according to your wishes.
7. Explain How Debts, Expenses, and Taxes will be Covered
Along with your beneficiaries and assets, your debts and expenses must also be listed and divided accordingly. Additional costs, such as those for probate and funeral, as well as those for estate and inheritance taxes should also be listed. A specific source, like a bank account, should also be listed to cover these costs.
8. Cancel Other Debts
One of the benefits of writing a will is that all debts owed to you – or to your beneficiaries on your behalf – will be canceled.
9. Include Detailed Instructions for Maintaining Real Estate
If you have listed a beneficiary to take care of your house, then there should also be specific instructions on how to keep up with its maintenance.
10. List a Caretaker for Pets
As many state laws consider pets as property, you should list a specific caretaker on your will so they will always be cared for. You may also want to consider leaving a lump sum of money to cover pet care expenses for the first few months.
Work with an Estate Planning Attorney
Regardless of what you decide to include in your will, it’s very important to work with a will and trust attorney. Because it can be a difficult and overwhelming process, a lawyer can help you draft one that will be carried out exactly to your wishes.
Such will and trust attorneys include those at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. They offer legal advice and guidance on drafting a number of wills and different types of trusts, including credit shelter trusts, charitable trusts, family trusts, and more.
Schedule a Consultation
For more information on how they can help you draft your living will, give Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. a call at (708) 425-9530.