Most people presume that will preparation is an easy task that takes a few minutes. However, this is not the case. In reality, will preparation is a long-term estate planning activity that ends when the executor dies. Below are some will preparation tips that you might receive from a lawyer.
Tip 1: Appraise Your Estate
You will need to know the value of your estate before writing your will. It will help you determine how you will share your wealth amongst your beneficiaries. Typically, your wills and estates lawyer should appraise your estate and compile your estate debts. The lawyer can also give asset appreciation and depreciation rates of your assets. These predictions will help you determine the assets that you will sell.
Tip 2: Know What To Include In The Will
As a rule of thumb, you can only include assets that you own in the will. Therefore, you cannot include joint property in the will. However, you can include your shareholding in a particular business. Personal situations could compel you to transfer assets to beneficiaries directly as opposed to using the will. For instance, if you establish joint ownership of an asset or open a joint bank account, the other party will take ownership of the asset or cash once you die.
Tip 3: Include Explanatory Letters Or Letters Of Wishes
These documents explain the rationale you used to share property and how the beneficiaries should use their inheritance. In some cases, beneficiaries could contest a will on the grounds that it does not adequately provide for them. You can avoid such scenarios by explaining why a dependent was left out of the will or received less inheritance. You could also detail how you would want to be buried. For instance, some people would want to be buried at a particular site or on a specific date. Others would want their ashes kept by a particular person.
Tip 4: Choosing An Executor
The executor is a vital component of the will preparation process. Once you die, the individual will file for probate and execute the terms of your will. The executor should be a trustworthy individual who respects your last wishes. Besides, the executor must be willing to execute the will. It is advisable to have at least two estate executors. The second executor is an alternative if the primary executor dies or is unwilling to perform the task. If you cannot find a trustworthy individual to execute the will, ask your wills and estates lawyer to act as executor.
When preparing your will, appraise your estate, know what to include in the will, consider the need for letters of wishes and choose an executor.