Even though people are living longer in today’s world, there is always a chance that life will end when you least expect it. Those who are prepared have a will to ensure that their assets and possessions go where they want them to go. The first part of planning an estate is preparing a will, and what is included in that will is some of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime.
Close to 50 percent of Americans do not have a will set up. A will includes a health care order, financial power of attorney and sometimes a trust. You will be asked to assign an executor of your will who is qualified and trustworthy to handle the division of your estate after you are gone.
If you die before preparing a will, there is always a chance it will cause significant distress within your family. While many assume they are on the same page, disagreements can quickly arise when money and possessions are called into question. You save your family from the potential arguments when you have a will drawn up. The following four things should always be included in a will.
1. Name of executor
The executor is given many tasks while carrying out your will. He or she may be asked to pay your final taxes, pay off any debts you have and then divide your assets how you specified. Naming an executor ensures that your family members don’t argue over who should be in charge. Choose someone healthy and trustworthy, and reassess your executor every few years to ensure he or she is still prepared to handle the job.
2. Guardian for minors
If you have any children or minors in your care, you want to decide who is in charge of them after you pass. This is particularly important as your children will already be distressed about your passing. In your will, name a person or group you trust to be responsible for your children.
3. Distribution of assets
Any money or assets you have should be divided exactly how you prefer if you have a will before you die. If you want to give any money to charity, your heirs or friends, this is the place to order that.
4. Disinherited individuals
If you choose to cut someone out of your will, specifically name the individual in the document and explain why he or she is being disinherited to prevent any further confusion about where you want your assets to go.
Prepare for anything
Few want to face their own mortality, but the smart, responsible thing to do is to draw up a will. An attorney may be able to help answer any questions you have about what should be in your will and what shouldn’t.