The estate planning process is complicated. That’s one reason why many individuals end up putting off the process until it’s too late.
This procrastination is dangerous, as it can leave your estate subject to the state’s intestate succession laws, which could distribute your assets in a way that’s contrary to your wishes.
In this blog post, we will take a look at what you should be sure to include in your will.
The terms that you’ll want to include in your will
Even though a will is one of the most basic estate planning tools that can use, it can still be very detailed and must be executed with precision if you want it to be legally binding. That said, here are some key items that you’ll want to make sure are in your will:
- Proper language rendering the document a will: When you draft your will, you’ll need to make sure that it’s clear that the document is operating as a legal will. Therefore, you’ll probably want to include language that clearly specifies that the document is your last will and testament.
- Your personal information: It might sound obvious, but you’ll need to make sure that you contain your personal information in your will so that it’s clear that the document pertains to you and your estate.
- Identification of assets: Although a will can provide broad coverage to all of your estate assets and you can choose to leave those assets to one individual, a lot of people like to break out assets to leave to different beneficiaries. In the latter circumstances, you’ll want to make sure that you clearly identify your assets.
- Identifications of beneficiaries: Your will needs to specify who will inherit your assets. Therefore, your beneficiary designations need to be clear, whether those are individuals or organizations. You might also want to name contingent beneficiaries in the event that one of your named beneficiaries passes away before you do.
- Naming an executor: Once you pass away, someone is going to have to handle your estate. This includes paying any final bills, inventorying the estate, and ensuring that assets are appropriately distributed in accordance with the terms of your will. Although you don’t have to, you have the ability to name an executory. This gives you the opportunity to appoint someone you trust to oversee your estate. If you don’t name someone, the court will appoint one.
- Naming a guardian: If you have children, then you and your spouse might want to name a guardian for your children in the event that you and your spouse pass away. You can accomplish this through your will.
- Definitions: You’ll want your will to be as clear as possible. Any ambiguities or vagueness can lead to legal disputes after you’re gone, which can cost your estate, delay asset distribution, and lead to infighting amongst your family members and friends.
Use the best estate planning tools at your disposal
The estate planning process has a lot to offer you. But to maximize its potential, you have to know about your options.