Writing a will isn’t a joyful task, yet knowing you’re actively safeguarding your family can be a rewarding feeling. When you’re in the process of thinking about a will or even getting your will written down, there are some important considerations to make.
Before you jump right in, let’s recap how you should view your last will and testament. We recommend to our clients that they think of a will as the documentation that provides your loved ones with guidance on how you would like your estate and assets to be divided when you’re no longer alive. Keep this in mind when planning your will.
Take your time for each of these points – there usually isn’t any rush to finalize a will, unless you are unwell. Think carefully about each area and discuss with trusted family members or a family lawyer if you are unsure.
Who Will Your Estate Go To
One of the first things to consider when writing a will is to think about how you would like your estate to be divided. The people who receive your estate are called beneficiaries. Normally people choose their spouse, children, or family members as beneficiaries, however, this can extend to chosen charities or other people such as close friends.
You have the right to decide which assets go to which person. For example, you may name your cousin as a beneficiary of your antique collection or a close friend as the receiver of your coin collection.
It’s advisable when writing a will to consider how your estate will be divided. As a rule of thumb, dividing by percentages rather than monetary value is advisable. This is because the value may change over time.
Who Will Make Sure This Happens
When writing a will, think about who you want to be the executor – the person who is essentially your personal representative after you’ve passed away. The role of an executor is to ensure that the terms of your will are carried out. Dividing up an estate and dealing with both law and tax obligations is a demanding process, so it’s advised to make sure you choose a person able and willing to carry out this task.
Decide Upon a Guardian
If you have children under the age of 19, deciding upon a guardian is a must-include for any will. Should anything happen to you or your spouse, a guardian will take care of your children. If you choose not to decide upon a guardian, the court will appoint a person of their choosing – this may be someone whom your children ultimately don’t get along with.
Consider a guardian who will be able to safeguard and care for your children – financially as well as emotionally. People often look to appoint a close family member or family friend. Remember to gain the consent of your chosen guardian when writing your will.
Are There Any Special Circumstances
Over the years you may have amassed different businesses and partnerships, or been married more than once and have many children. Addressing these complex affairs should be an essential consideration when writing a will. How will your executor know how to carry out your wishes if they’re not included? Omitting special or challenging circumstances can cause complexities long-term. It’s always best to be as honest as possible when writing your will.
Decide Where to Keep Your Will
Once you’ve written your will, consider the best place to keep it. This might be at a solicitors office, a bank safe or at home in a locked box or draw. Remember to tell your family and loved ones the location of your will and ensure that they are able to access it when they need to.
These five considerations when writing a will can help you with the legal process and assist you in firmly safeguarding your family’s future. And if you need help writing your will, Dreyer Davison Family Law firm has over 45 years experience in will planning. Let us know how we can help you, today.