When you think of estate planning, most people will think of a Last Will and Testament, or simply, a “will.” A will can be an important part of your estate plan. It has the ability to go far beyond detailing what property you want distributed to which beneficiaries. When you are creating your will, there are several provisions you should be sure to include in order to maximize the power of this important legal document.
What Should You Include in Your Will?
You should include in your will the thing wills are most widely known for, which is asset distribution. List your assets. Decide who you want to inherit each asset. While it is, of course, important for you to include those assets of substantial financial value, it is also important to consider those assets holding great sentimental value. Think about who you want to see take ownership of these assets after you pass away. You can also decide if you want any of your assets sold and divided among several beneficiaries.
Your will should also name the executor of your estate. The executor has the important job of administering your estate. He or she will be responsible for carrying out the terms of your will. Additionally, the executor must pay any valid debts of the estate, gather and preserve estate assets, and distribute the assets to the named beneficiaries, among other important tasks associated with administering an estate. Take care in the selection of your executor. Executors must be organized, task-oriented, and it often helps if they are familiar with financial matters. Additionally, discuss your executor selection with your chosen executor. It should not come as a surprise to them that you have assigned them this task in your will.
If you have minor children, it is very important to include who will become their guardian in your will. The guardian you name will take on the great responsibility of raising your children should you and the other parent be unable to do so yourself. You can also, and should, name a backup guardian should the first choice be unable to serve for some reason. Discuss this decision with any potential guardian. Make sure the potential guardian would be comfortable with the decision. In addition to a guardian, you can assign a person the job of managing your children’s property and inheritance in your will. To grant someone the authority to manage the property of your children, you can name him or her as guardian of property or you can put the property in a trust and name the person trustee of the trust.
There are other considerations for what to include in your will that have come with the digital age. So many of our personal, business, and financial assets are digitalized. Be sure to include provisions for your digital assets in your will. Without providing for these often important assets, they could very well be lost to cyberspace.
Estate Planning Attorney
The contents of a will can greatly vary depending on individual circumstances. At Verras Law, we develop unique wills that are tailored directly to the individual needs of each client. Contact Verras Law today.