The legal document known as a will specifies what will happen to your possessions after death. If you pass away without making a will, a judge will decide who your heirs are. So, what should one include in a choice according to the estate plan while preparing for a will? Let’s have a look.
There are a few other things to include in your will, such as who will be your estate executor and who should receive an inheritance. Your choice might also need to adhere to specific legal requirements established by your state if you want it to be valid; otherwise, it’ll be as if you never wrote one.
It would be best to consider getting other estate planning documents to meet your needs because a will does not cover everything. A durable power of attorney (DPOA) gives someone the legal authority to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf. A living will (advance directive) outlines your health and medical care wishes.
What to include in a will, according to an estate planning lawyer?
Your full name, birthdate, and address must all be mentioned in your will as other essential personal data about you. In addition, list any alternate names you may use, your spouse’s name, the names of your family members, and their relationships with you. The testator is the person who draughts a will.
The will must be appropriately drafted and contain language stating it is a will and nothing else. This is frequently accomplished by saying, “This is my last will,” but it can be completed in any way that expresses your desire to leave behind property after your passing. One of the requirements for a valid will is testamentary intent.
Assets and beneficiaries
What assets do you want to leave behind, and who is one of a will’s key elements? You can donate cash, items of personal property, valuables, and even real estate.
A beneficiary of a will can be a friend, relative, organization, company, or even a trust. In addition, a contingent beneficiary, who will take possession of the assets if the primary beneficiary dies or cannot do so, should also be named in your will. You should be careful when naming beneficiaries if you want certain people to receive something, such as your civil partner in a domestic partnership. Depending on your state’s laws, they might not have the legal right to inherit because they aren’t next of kin.
Choosing an executor
To carry out the directives of your will, you’ll need an executor, also known as a personal representative. Executors are the people who handle all of your affairs after you pass away, including paying off debts and submitting a final tax return, in addition to distributing assets to your beneficiaries. In terms of your will, you can designate a relative or lawyer to act as your estate’s executor and specify the compensation they should receive. (The estate pays the executor’s fee.)
If you fail to designate an executor in your will, a person will need to apply with the probate court to serve as your representative and manage your estate. The court will appoint an administrator for your estate if no one uses it.
Choosing a guardian
You can designate someone to serve as the minor children’s guardian spouse passes away. Other dependents you have, such as an elderly parent or an adult child with disabilities, may also be able to have a guardian named for them. If you fail to designate a guardian, the court will do so on your behalf.
Most states demand that the testator and two witnesses sign a last will. The witnesses’ signatures indicate the testator’s legitimacy and capacity to make a will (testamentary capacity).
Although handwritten or holographic will not need witness signatures, they are not recognized in all states. Therefore, someone might still need proof that the writing is yours after your passing.
Notarized self-proving affidavit
You can and should if it’s legal in your state. Include this brief document in your will to make it self-proving so that your witnesses won’t have to give a testimony in probate court after your passing. A self-proving statement in the will’s body may also be permitted in some states. It is required to notarize the affidavit.
Your will shouldn’t contain certain assets that can already transfer to someone. This includes financial help from a designated beneficiary, such as a retirement or bank account, and a life insurance policy. In addition, objects that you jointly own with someone else and things held in a trust that a beneficiary receives apart from a will should also be excluded.
Even though you might want to include burial instructions, it is best to leave them out because your loved ones must make decisions quickly. Also, in the event of your passing and might not have time to consult your will.