Do you have a will prepared? While you may not want to think about the end, it is important to plan ahead to ensure your loved ones receive your possessions and property. This is your last wish you can grant; you can decide who you pass on your property to. Otherwise, not dealing with your estate now can cause headaches and problems later on.
Here are 10 things you should know about before you write your will.
1. Consider Child Guardianship.
If you are making a will and have young children, you will want to appoint a guardian. This will mean they take care for your children if you or your partner are to die suddenly. It will be their duty to care of your children until they are adults. Choosing a guardian should not be a decision that is made lightly. Instead, you should take your time and consider their relationship with your child and whether they have the lifestyle to look after them. This can include looking at their financial and emotional situation.
2. Appoint an Executor of Your Will.
A will gives you an opportunity to make your final wishes. An executor is going to be the person who carries out these wishes and makes sure they happen. An executor is responsible and has a duty to manage your estate and takes on the task of carrying out your wishes. Choose someone that you trust, and you believe will do this job the best.
3. Know Your Assets.
If you own a house and car outright and they are in your name, these are referred to as your assets. But it is sometimes not so easy to know what is considered your assets. For example, do you share ownership of your home with someone else? When you die, these assets will be acquired by the surviving owner and they will not become part of your will. Thus, before you start writing your will, it is important to list your assets and know what yours is and what is not. This is going to avoid loved ones being disappointed later.
4. Leaving Special Gifts.
Your will presents you with an opportunity to leave special gifts to your loved ones. This does not have to be something that has value; it can be a memento or something that has meaning to them. Perhaps there are family heirlooms or jewellery that are significant, and you want to pass on to your daughter, son or grandchildren. In your will, be sure to name the person and be specific with the gift you want to leave.
5. Select Beneficiaries.
A beneficiary to your will is a person that is going to benefit from your wishes. For example, a beneficiary may receive all of your estate or you might leave them a special gift. Common beneficiaries include named children and grandchildren. It is always best to specify the name of the person in your will who is to receive property or assets. Contact details can also be helpful. In addition, you can make organisations or charities beneficiaries too.
6. Organise Your Funeral.
A lot of people like to arrange their funeral ahead of time. Perhaps you have certain music you want to play or messages you want to share with your loved ones. Your will is your opportunity to outline your funeral instructions. This way, when you pass away, your will is examined before arrangements are made.
7. Be an Organ Donor.
Becoming an organ donor is a popular wish for those that want to help people even when they are gone. This is a wish that can be written down on your will. You can outline your instructions on your will for the executor to see. Do not forget to register to become an organ donor. There is an application process online that is necessary to official become an organ donor in the country where you live. You can ask a lawyer for advice before including this in your will.
8. Choose Your Enduring Power of Attorney.
There may come a time in your life where you lose the capacity to make decisions about yourself. Perhaps this is decisions to do with your medical health or financial affairs. You can appoint an enduring power of attorney in your will who will make those decisions on your behalf. This should be someone that you trust and who has your best interests in mind. Choosing your enduring power of attorney now can give you peace of mind and know that you will be taken care of in later stages of life.
9. Include Your Accountant or Financial Planner.
Your accountant or financial planner is always going to have the most up-to-date information on your financial situation. Of course, you want to consult with them before you write your will. But you also want to include their details with your will. This is going to make it easier for your executors to deal with your estate.
10. Seek Advice Over Family Complexities.
Not every will is going to be straightforward. If you have been divorced, not married but have kids or wish to leave people out of your will, it is best to consult with a professional. Will and estate lawyers are going to know how to deal with these complexities to ensure your wishes are fulfilled correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions.
What Will Happen if I Die Without a Will?
If you do not have a will when you pass away, you become known as intestate. This means that your estate will be divided based on the laws of your country. The process of probate will see your assets and property given to heirs that are decided by the law.
Are Will Lawyers Necessary for Writing My Will?
You can write your will by yourself or by using a DIY kit that is available widely online. But it is best to consult with experienced will lawyers when your circumstances are complex. In addition, arranging a will with a lawyer can offer you peace of mind so you know everything is completed correctly.
Do I Need a Witness for My Will?
Yes, you will need a witness so that someone can confirm you have signed it yourself. Anyone who is not a beneficiary can be a witness. For example, this can be a friend or neighbour. This is going to prevent problems with authenticity later on.