Death is the only certain thing in this uncertain world. So, having a will irrespective of your age is vital. Every adult should draft their last testament to ensure that all their assets go to the appropriate place in the event of their death. If you die without Drafting a Will, the court can decide the fate of your possessions.
Preparing or drafting a will is no easy task. It can take a lot of time and brainstorming sessions as several legalities are involved in this process. You have to think long-term while considering all the aspects of your life when preparing a will. You can also take the services of a professional testator to guide you through this process. Moreover, several will creation and management services are offered online nowadays.
Certain websites allow you to create a will online and update it throughout your life. The entire process of creating an online testament can take only 15-30 minutes. You should also review your will every 3-5 years or after a huge life event like marriage, the birth of a child, purchase of a house, any death in the family, and other similar occasions.
If you plan to draft a will yourself, the process is simple. First, you should lay out all your assets including, digital assets. Gather all necessary documents like birth certificates, marriage license, and mortgage information required for will preparation. Choose your beneficiaries and nominate guardians. Sign and store your will. Make amendments to your testament accordingly. Whether you decide to do it yourself or get help from a professional, here are some aspects that you must consider before drafting a will.
1. Cherished Things
While drafting a will, you may overlook small things with sentimental value. Small objects with little monetary value can have a lot of emotional worth. These objects can be small gifts like jewelry, clothing item, art piece, furniture, and more or a family heirloom passed on for generations. It is reported that siblings often argue over who will keep specific personal items of their parents instead of other assets. Therefore, you must list any cherished items in your possession and decide who may receive them after your death.
Categorize all your assets. Writing down the approximate value of these assets along with any associated loans and mortgages is crucial. Your assets can include property, vehicles, and houses in addition to cash, cash equivalents, and intangible assets like bonds and equities.
It is also imperative that you specify whether your properties are independently owned or jointly owned. For real estate assets, there are two types of ownership. For jointly owned assets, the surviving owner automatically acquires that property in case of your death and, it can’t become a part of your will. For assets owned as tenants in common, your share of the property can be a part of your will.
It is also crucial to arrange your paperwork and property certificates properly and store them in a safe place like at your home or bank. Missing or lost documents are expensive to replace after you pass away, and the process can be excessively time-consuming.
Guardianship of Children
Children are cherished a lot by their parents. That is why many adults draft their will right after the birth of their first child. It is crucial to specify a guardian for your children in your will as the nominated individual will take care of your children until they are adults. You can also write your wishes for your children. These wishes can include;
- The way you want your kids to be raised
- The type of education you would want them to pursue
- The extra-curricular activities you want them to participate in
- The kind of access they would have to their pocket money
- The values you want them to have as adults
You can write all these plans and store them with your will to be easily accessible for the guardian. It is also essential to carefully select a guardian. When nominating a guardian, consider;
- Someone your child likes and bonds with
- If the guardian has or plans to have children
- An individual with physical, financial, and emotional stability
- Someone with a similar lifestyle, values, and religious beliefs
- 4. Funeral Guidelines
You can include funeral instructions in your will as well. You can write about whether you want to be buried or cremated. You can specify the place where you want to be buried. You can also choose to donate your organs. Discussing these details with your loved ones in person can be difficult. However, writing about these wishes in your will can let your loved ones know about your wishes at the appropriate time. Your will is read before making any funeral decisions to ensure that your wishes are honored.
5. Contact Details of Financial Professionals
Accumulate the most up-to-date information about your financial specialists like an accountant, financial planner, and manager in a document. Store this document along with your will so that your executor (a person that you appoint to carry out your final wishes according to the will you write) can contact them after you pass away to discuss any financial details. Such details can make the job of your executor easier.
6. Power of Attorney
Power of attorney essentially means that you appoint a trusted person to make decisions on your behalf. These decisions can include personal decisions as well as financial planning. Therefore, it is crucial to select a person you fully trust and are confident in their abilities to do what is required of them.
Beneficiaries can include people, charities, and organizations that you wish to benefit from your will. You can give gifts or share your assets with them. Whatever assets remain after paying off debts, funeral costs, and other expenses is called a residuary estate. Each beneficiary receives a specific percentage of the residuary estate.
Cherished items that you don’t want to be sold or become a part of your estate can also be given to the beneficiaries. People of all ages (even minors) can be nominated as beneficiaries. Once you have decided on your beneficiaries, write their names and contact details to keep everything streamlined.
The Wrap Up
No one knows when they are going to die. So, it is essential to write a testament before you kick the bucket. Drafting a will is an important task that you can do yourself or with the help of a professional writer. Either way, it is crucial to add the factors discussed in the above article into your last testament. Considering these aspects before writing a testament can save your loved ones from any additional aggravation that may arise after you pass away.