We spend nearly half our lives accumulating assets that we could live off once we retire and settle down to live with our loved ones. Caring about the contents of our will is the last thing on anyone’s mind; after all, who wants to think about dying, anyway.
It’s best you know a few things about the will’s importance. Like, if you didn’t write a will, the allotment of your inheritance will be done by the law, but if you did leave behind a well-documented will, your wealth distribution will be according to your directives contained in the will.
Making a will can provide you clarity and peace of mind about the question of your wealth after you pass away. It also answers any doubts about your intentions for the wealth you’ll leave behind in the minds of your loved ones.
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when writing a will:
The worth of your assets
The first step in writing your will is to know the value of the assets you own, write down the value and the net worth.
Everything from your savings, to the market value of your house, car, or properties, all these assets are to be ascertained as your wealth.
Who inherits what, any gifts that are to be awarded, all these have to be on paper, which makes it easier for the solicitor to carry out your will after your passing.
Along with these, gather and mention details of any mortgages or outstanding loans on the house and any of the properties or businesses you exclusively or partly own.
The next step of setting up a will is to know who will be benefiting from the wealth you leave behind. The purpose of a will is to allocate all beneficiaries who stand to gain something out of your estate, assets, investments, or financial stocks and bonds. A detailed document that highlights in detail the transference of every asset and the names of beneficiaries standing to inherit the assets.
Your will should also anticipate any unexpected or expected events occurring in terms of inheritance. That means that in case your first beneficiary passes unexpectedly, or are unable to carry out the inheritance as you intended, you should have a backup or a substitute inheritor.
You can also lend your powers to an attorney who will reserve the legal right to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
Choosing an executor
What you need now is a trustworthy and a reliable executor, one that is responsible for enforcing the will. An executor is most likely to be one of the primary beneficiaries or someone you trust to carry out your wishes as per your will.
Appointing an executor is necessary for cases where there are underage beneficiaries involved. If you are leaving behind anything to someone under 18 years of age, you will need trustees that can enforce the will. You can also appoint professional executors in case of any difficulties.
Once you’ve calculated your wealth and its value, your lawyer can fill you in on the all the tax details. In most cases, there are no taxes, as all your beneficiaries will be directly inheriting your wealth.
Gifts and properties transferred to your spouse or children are mostly tax-free. In case of an inheritance tax, your solicitor will also tell you ways around it. It’s mostly the executor or the administrator that arranges for the tax payments.
If you have kids under 18-years, you will also have to designate a guardian for them; it could be the executor or someone close to your children.
The guardian will carry out all the parental responsibilities for your children until they reach 18-years. The guardian must be someone you can trust to take good care of your children and the wealth you leave for them.
The trustees can take care of the inheritance on behalf of the underage children until they are old enough to inherit it by the law.
It is also essential that you leave a trust fund behind for the guardian as well so that they can support your children until they reach maturity.
Writing down the perfect will is not going to be smooth; there are going to be circumstances that will complicate things.
Most people don’t consider divorces, businesses going bankrupt, a spouse remarrying, etc., but these complications may turn out to be tougher to tackle for the beneficiaries when you are no longer there.
If there is anything you need to set right but you don’t know how, let a professional take care of it for you. Professional solicitors will help you navigate any possible threats in the future and offer solutions to overcome them.
Updating your Will
There are a lot of life events that can happen which will have a bearing on the contents of your will; keep updating and reviewing it.
Marriage, separation, divorce, birth or adoption, death of a spouse, death of an executor, etc. all of these are scenarios which may potentially alter the authenticity of your will.
Changes in marital status can automatically render void your will unless specifically stated. Divorce usually does not revoke the will, in essence, but can alter the terms as they are stated.
These are only a few of the prospects that can lead to a review of your will; possibilities may vary case to case. If you leave behind a will that hasn’t been updated to accommodate the changes that have transpired over the years, then that will might be considered annulled in its entirety.
A will lets people know about your intentions for the wealth you leave behind. Professional lawyers stress on the importance of having a will written when you are healthy. A well laid out will leaves nothing to speculation, and you and your family will have a peace of mind about what might happen to your will once you are gone.