Have you written a will? Do you think you can wait until you’re older to write it? Think again. It is never too early to start drafting a will.
A will is a written, legal declaration of an individual that names persons to manage their estate. A will also provides the distribution of personal property and other desired belongings.
Having a written, legal will ensures that your real and personal property is accounted for the way you want. If you do not have a will and you pass, the state in which you live will determine how your property will be distributed and how assets are allocated.
Writing Your Will
When you are ready to start drafting a will, here are five steps you should follow
There are many professionals that you should consider. Some of the many options you have are
Before you meet with your chosen professional, it is important to take a comprehensive inventory of your assets. Assets can range from a variety of tangible and intangible things. Not all are necessary, but here are a few that you should take note of:
This is one thing that a majority of professionals will advise. The chances of you and your spouse passing at the same time are not likely. Having separate wills makes more sense, even though you and your significant other’s will might end up very similar.
A separate will from your spouse will also be beneficial when addressing ex-spouses, children, pets and things of this nature.
Before you meet with your professional, it is important to clearly think about naming guardians and trustees if you have children. This is the last thing you would want to make a rushed decision for. We highly advise not to choose the same person as your child’s legal guardian and trustee.
If your children are older, and are not legally required to have a guardian, another caution you can take is to seek out a financial planner. This will help them manage the funds that they will most likely receive if you pass.
It is important to know what and who a beneficiary is. A beneficiary is the recipient of your assets. Accounts like IRA’s, life insurance, and annuities do not pass through probate. These accounts will go directly to your beneficiary.
After all of these are taken into account, store the information you have compiled into a safety deposit box. Revisit your will every five years and make adjustments when necessary.