Writing a last will is a vitally important process. It’s also a process that can be a bit intimidating.
To make a valid will, you must be above the legal age of 18 years and be of sound mind. This article will outline the steps necessary to create a will.
Identify Your Beneficiaries
The legal help with your last will and testament allows you to specify the beneficiaries who will inherit your belongings. This can include family members, friends, or charitable organizations. However, it does not control the distribution of assets such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, stocks and other investments, or trusts.
When deciding on your beneficiaries, it is essential to clearly define the types of possessions you want each person to receive. This includes personal items such as furniture, jewelry, and collectibles. It is also wise to provide specific instructions regarding donating a certain amount or percentage of your estate to a charity.
It would help if you also considered providing for a contingent beneficiary. This will ensure that your wishes are carried out even if one of your beneficiaries passes away before you do or cannot accept your bequest for some reason. You can add these instructions in a codicil document, an amendment to your will.
Think About Your Last Wishes
It can be challenging to discuss funeral and end-of-life plans with loved ones, but you must have those conversations. You may choose to share your plans with only a few close friends or all of your family members. Having this discussion with professional service providers is also a good idea because these professionals can communicate your wishes to other professionals you work with.
It can be helpful to create a document called your “final wishes.” These requests have nothing to do with a will or estate and everything to do with funeral arrangements and final disposition (burial or cremation). While last wishes documents are not legally binding, most family members feel morally obligated to honor them. This type of document can be created by a lawyer, following templates found online or using an online will creation service. Each cost is different, but all will result in a valid document under your state’s laws.
Specify Your Funeral Details
If the deceased left instructions or requests for their funeral services, they should be followed if possible. This could include a specific resting place or even a preference for cremation with a particular type of urn.
Funeral professionals can help clients work through these and other concerns and make pre-arranged funeral plans, which can take some burden off family members at a difficult time.
However, it is essential to remember that instructions for funeral arrangements should not be included in a will. Instead, they should be documented in a separate document that can be easily located when the executor of the will needs to access it. This is because a will typically won’t be reviewed until after the funeral, which could be too late for family members to make funeral arrangements according to the deceased’s wishes.
Gather Your Assets
A last will allows you to control what happens to your property, money, and responsibilities after death. It can detail your wishes, name an executor to carry them out, and provide for minor children (and disabled loved ones). It can also help your family save on legal costs by simplifying the probate process.
A comprehensive list of your assets is essential to help your executor and heirs manage and distribute your property. This can minimize conflicts and arguments, reduce expenses, and save time.
Gather your financial documents, including bank accounts, investments, savings, life insurance policy information, property deeds, and titles. It’s a good idea to store this list with your will and keep it updated over the years. If you do so, it’s essential to communicate with your executor and heirs where the asset list is located and how to access it. This will ensure they don’t spend time searching for missing items.