Making a will is one of the most important things you can do throughout a lifetime. It is the only way to guarantee that your assets will be handled as per your declaration on the will after your demise.
A will is a formally binding legal document that specifies how your property will be handled and dispersed after your passing. A will clarifies a person’s intents and wishes on significant aspects of their life, such as their dependents, acquired wealth, enterprises, property, and trusts, as well as any gifts they wish to leave behind. It also specifies their choices for how they would like to be buried.
Without a will, the courts will deal with every aspect of your estate without giving much importance to your personal wish. An administrator will be chosen by a judge, who will make decisions without consulting your heirs at all. You can’t expect to have any of your intentions honored through probate without a will, which can be time-consuming and complicated. So here are some factors that you should know before writing a will.
Table of Contents
1. Conduct Research
It’s crucial to invest the time to learn about what a standard will is and how to write a simple will. Even though a lawyer is not required to draft your will, it must be stated correctly and must be legally binding. Following best practices, list your heirs, executors, and funeral insurance policies along with your heir’s and executors’ information.
2. Assess Your Debts Before Preparing a Will
Debts can be anything you owe money for, such as mortgages, loans, credit cards, and other obligations. The value of the property in your estate will be reduced by any unpaid debts at the moment of your death. The total worth of your property that can be distributed according to your intentions will be the residual amount. Before preparing your will, it’s a wise idea to compile a list of any unpaid debts.
3. The Selection of an Executor
Your executor is the individual or entity you designate to execute your last intentions as stated in your will. Your executor is in charge of handling your estate after your death.
It is important to take the responsibility of the executor seriously. The nomination of a family member may make them feel honored, but they need to get the time and the knowledge to carry out the duties.
In general, when appointing an executor, choose someone who will be a beneficiary of your estate. For someone without a stake in the estate, having to serve as an executor may be a burden.
There might not always be a good candidate for the position. Or you might think about naming State Trustee as your executor if there is a chance of family disputes and it is not possible to designate an impartial person to serve in this capacity. Make sure you comprehend the costs and expenses before using an external executor agency. Your estate will be used to pay them.
4. Consider Your Circumstances
Life can be unpredictable, therefore it’s always a good idea to be ready for anything. A will is merely one more type of insurance. Everyone is unique, thus your circumstances should be taken into consideration while making a will. Consider the life stage you’re in before deciding when to make your first will or revise your existing one. For instance, you should take into account your finances, marital status, and ownership of a home before drafting a will.
5. Know the Issues With Inheritance Tax
The tax due on the value of a deceased person’s estate is known as the inheritance tax. It’s important to find out the regulations for inheritance tax calculations before you prepare your will. After knowing the summary of inheritance tax, you might want to speak with a lawyer or accountant to discuss this further.
6. Evaluate Claims Made Against Your Property Before Writing a Will
Sudden claims against your property may be made by cohabitees, children, individuals treated as family members, former spouses and civil partners who haven’t remarried, spouse and civil partners, and those you’ve supported.
Before drafting your will, if you know of anyone who might have claims against your estate, you should talk to your lawyer. They can advise you on how to handle the situation with the parties involved to avoid or minimize any obstacles to your will that might upset your family and designated beneficiaries.
7. Instruction for a funeral
Consider your selected funeral arrangements as you write your will. For the benefit of your loved ones and the executor, it is advisable to include funeral directions in your will. Have you given any thought to whether you wish to be cremated or buried?
Consider making an organ donation decision at this time. Your will may mention your intentions. With your near and dear ones, both subjects might be challenging to talk about. By including these specifics in your will, you can let them know your intentions at this crucial moment.
Before making any funeral arrangements, the will is frequently reviewed to make sure your intentions are honored. Additionally, your next of kin will feel secure enough to consent to the donation of your organs if you include proof that you are an organ donor.
Having a will doesn’t mean it automatically reflects your current intentions. You need to ensure it still does that. For this reason, you must regularly update your will, taking into account marriages, divorces, babies, death, or other life events. A wise strategy is to review the provisions of your will once a year.
If you’re still not satisfied, think about this; by relieving your loved ones of additional worry during a trying moment, you’ll be doing them one last favor.