Eight Things to Know About Writing Your Will
Writing a will doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Sure, it can be a bit challenging and time-consuming, but nothing to make you so anxious you avoid writing it at all.
Indeed, you have to give it a lot of thought before beginning to write. It is your entire life’s savings and assets that we’re talking about here or a final chapter of what you wish to happen after you’ve left.
Now, no one is going to write it for you. You will have to do the thinking part yourself, even if you want a professional writer to prepare your will.
After all, it is a final request from you regarding your belongings and wishes.
If you have been desperately trying to sit down and begin writing your will but don’t know what’s the first step, then you’ve landed at the right resource. Take this article as a guide to eight things you need to know about writing a will.
What is a will?
First, let’s talk about a will, in case you’re at sixes and sevens with this legal talk.
A will is a legal document prepared to distribute wealth and assets after your demise. If you have dependents, your will can determine who will look after them after you’re gone.
The act of writing a will dates back to the Ancient Roman Empire. Since then, drafting a will to protect one’s assets and provide for dependents has been common in many countries.
No matter where you are in life, it’s never too late or too early to write a will. Formerly called the Last Will and Testament, this crucial document has a hefty responsibility of ensuring your property and dependents like children are in safe hands.
Also, your estate doesn’t have to be of high monetary value as a home; it can be a sentimental item like an old guitar.
In your will, you will delegate a person, the executor, responsible for managing your estate once you’ve passed away.
1. Why do you need one?
Now we come to the second most important question: why do you need a will? It’s pretty simple.
If you’re above 18 and have a substantial amount of savings, property, or are responsible for providing for someone. In that case, you must draft a will.
The biggest disadvantage of not writing a will is the disproportionate distribution of your estate. The court might have to intervene, and state laws decide where your assets go.
If you leave without writing a will that demonstrates who gets a chunk of what, then the state will distribute your estate among your parents, children, spouse, and relatives.
So, it is in your and everyone’s best interest that you write a will and decide who gets what. If you don’t provide an executor in your will, the court will assign an administrator to complete the job.
Since you must write a will according to the legal criterion, failure to do so invalidates the will. The court will appoint a new executor in case of an invalid will.
2. Look-after of dependents
Once you’re ready to write your will, it’s time to consider all your assets and beneficiaries. A lot of people think writing a will once they become parents.
It provides a secure future for their child or spouse if they are not around. For instance, you can delegate someone to care for your children until they become adults.
It is essential to consider the following when appointing a guardian for your children:
- Someone who shares the same religious, lifestyle, and ethical values as you so that your children may adjust easily
- Does the nominee have a family or dependents of their own? Would they be able to provide the due care for your children without jeopardizing their relationships?
- Someone who shares a close bond with your child, like godparents
- Can the chosen guardian bear the financial and emotional responsibility of looking after your children?
Once you begin brainstorming, you will come up with a lot more questions and points to consider before finalizing.
It is also crucial to incorporate the needs and wishes of your children so that it’s easy for them to adjust to a new environment.
You can include everything in the will, from where your child should live, what school they should go to, what activities you would like them to be a part of, or even how much pocket money they should get.
You can mention who acquires your estate other than your offspring in your will. These beneficiaries can be your relatives, friends, or charities.
After the repayment of the debt, funeral expenses, and provision for your dependents, the remaining is for the beneficiaries.
The remaining amount of estate is called a residuary estate. Your beneficiaries can also acquire non-monetary items, like those with sentimental value, if written in the will.
If the beneficiary is underage, like a child below the age of 18, an executor will manage the child’s portion of the estate until they become an adult.
Once you have finalized the names of your beneficiaries, ensure that you have included their accurate contact details in your will.
4. Assets you own
One of the most critical components of your estate is your assets. These can range from your home and car to your savings account and investment funds. In case an asset is jointly owned with someone, like a business partner, the ownership of the asset will transfer to the other existing party upon your demise.
Thus, it will not be a part of your Last Will and Testament. Before writing, you should categorize and evaluate each asset.
You must gather all documents and information in one place before finalizing the will, as they can be difficult to acquire later on.
5. Items with sentimental value
Monetary wealth is not all that matters in life. Sometimes, the smallest items are the most valuable.
It can be an old guitar you used to play or a family heirloom. Whatever it may be, your estate can include items of sentimental value. It is not limited to property and bank accounts.
6. Requests on your behalf
As mentioned before, you can include charities in your will as beneficiaries. Many writers designate a particular portion of their estate for a charity or noble cause. It can be a large sum of money or donated property to an organization.
7. Nominating an executor
Now that we have covered the different beneficiaries and estate in your will, let’s come to the most important aspect: nominating an executor.
As we mentioned before, the absence of an executor will invalidate your will, and the probate procedure will take over. After that, the court will take over.
It would be best if you appointed a trustworthy executor in your will to prevent that from happening.
This person will carry out all your requests and manage the distribution of your estate. The job of an executor is not easy; thus, you should carefully decide who to appoint
8. Power of attorney
Other than appointing an executor, you might also have to delegate power of attorney. Choosing a power of attorney delegates the decision-making power if you believe you cannot make a fair judgment.
The trustworthy individual will be making decisions on your behalf, like looking after your finances or property; therefore, make a wise decision.
You can quickly draft your will on your own or with assistance from a legal professional. It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or stressful task.
With the guidelines mentioned in this article, you can start jotting down your beneficiaries and assets. In case of uncertainty, you can always consult a legal advisor or solicitor.