What Makes a Good Will?
There are a few things you can do for your family as important as writing a good Will. Not only does your Will spell out your exact wishes, but it also protects your loved ones and assets. It is essential that you write a Will because they are legally binding. While it may be clear to your loved ones what your personal wishes are, this can be difficult to enforce without a will. Like any legal document, you should prepare your Will with the help of an experienced attorney. This helps ensure that your Will is air-tight, and your loved ones will be able to avoid a lengthy probate process. There are certain things that every Will should have.
You may have questions – What should I include in my Will? In this article, we’ll briefly cover some of them. Of course, every Will is different, just like every situation is different… But all of them should have this information.
Heading, Marital Status, and Children
Your Will begins with a declaration of facts. Next, the Heading section states your full legal name, the county you live in, and a declaration of intent. The declaration of intent clarifies that you intend this to be your Will. Next, your marital status will declare if you are married, divorced, widowed, or entered into a common-law arrangement or marriage. Lastly, you should declare how many children you have. This includes adopted and stepchildren.
How to Pay Debts and Taxes
Your debts don’t always go with you. Outstanding debts should be accounted for in your Will. You will have to declare outstanding debts and tax dues and lay out exactly how to pay them. This includes which assets will pay for them.
Disposition of Assets
When most people hear about a Will, this is the section they think about. This section will list your assets and exactly how they will be distributed. This is the section that needs to be clearest, as this is also the section that often leads to disputes. By having a thorough Disposition of Assets, your loved ones can avoid a lengthy and stressful Probate process.
Status of Minor Children and Guardians
If you have minor children, you must consider what will happen to them. List their guardian and what assets they will receive. Otherwise, you leave this important decision to the courts.
Executor and Trustee and Their Powers
Who do you trust and want to handle your assets and receive them? What do you want them to be able to do? Without listing these legal powers, your Executor may have trouble doing things such as selling your home.
Provisions and Definitions for a Good Will
Many people think of the Disposition of Assets as the most important part of the Will. In truth, without certain provisions and definitions, executing your Will can be difficult. For example, a “No Contest” provision can prevent people from opposing your Will’s conditions or probate. As a result, you can avoid many problems ahead of time. Provisions for divorce, other deaths, or accidents can also be considered. What happens in the case of a fire, for example? It would help to define certain phrases to eliminate any potential ambiguity.
Suppose you’ve already prepared a Will, great! You understand how important they are. Because they’re so important, you’ll want to review your Will as soon as possible. If any of this information is missing, make sure to revise your Will to include it.
You may also wish to include a Trust in your Will, especially if you have minor children. If you have questions or thoughts about your Will or the process of adding a Trust, call us today. Dowd Law Firm has the experience you need to help you with your estate planning – Including writing an air-tight Will!