Though a last will and testament is perhaps the most important document you will ever craft, chances are you have put it off far too long. Since writing your will is a stark reminder of your death, it’s probably something you don’t look forward to doing.
However, if you don’t draft a will or do so without giving it proper thought, chaos within your family will result upon your passing. To avoid this, here are five tips for creating a foolproof will.
List Your Assets
Before you begin drafting your will, sit down and make a comprehensive list of all of your assets. This should include not only physical assets such as your home, vehicles, and other types of property, but also other assets such as stocks, bank accounts, and anything else you have of value.
Decide Who Will be Your Beneficiaries
Once you know the assets you have that will be distributed upon your passing, you should create a list of your beneficiaries. While this usually includes family members, it does not necessarily have to if you have other plans in mind.
For example, you may choose to leave your entire estate to a charitable organization, school, or other entity. Whatever your decision, clearly spell out who will receive most of if not all of your estate.
Name an Executor
Perhaps the most important part of drafting a will, naming an executor to your estate will in many cases determine how smoothly the transition between your death and the distribution of your assets goes following your death.
Whether you choose to create a will for free from sites like GoodTrust or hire an attorney to help you with this matter instead, make sure the executor is someone you completely trust to carry out your wishes. This can be anyone from a family member, longtime friend, or even your lawyer, accountant, or anyone else you deem to be trustworthy.
You Don’t Need to Include Everything
When writing your last will and testament, you may mistakenly assume you are required to include all of your assets in the document, when in fact this is not the case.
Actually, you should carefully consider what you want or do not want to be included in your will regarding your assets.
One option is to use a living will, which can be a legal document explaining the reasoning behind any decisions you make about your estate.
Use All Estate Planning Tools
While a will can cover virtually everything about your estate, there are other estate planning tools that will aid you in not only creating a foolproof will but also in protecting various assets and making sure they are properly distributed.
One way to do so is by creating a living trust, which is commonly used to protect important assets.
By following these tips once you create a will for free or have your attorney draw up the document, you will be able to gain peace of mind, knowing your final wishes will be explained in a foolproof legal document.
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