Planning for your death is something that most people find uncomfortable. It’s not the easiest topic to discuss, but it is something that you need to do to make things easier for your loved ones after you pass.
One of the first steps of estate planning is to put together a basic will. Your will is a record of how you want your belongings to be divided among your relatives or beneficiaries. It tells them your wishes and makes sure those wishes are respected.
What should you include in your will?
To start with, your basic will should have:
- A list of your beneficiaries
- Guardian(s) for any children that you have
- A list of assets that you’d like to distribute to specific people in your family or outside your family
- Information that identifies the executor
- Specific guidance on how to divide your assets. You can choose to attach a letter to your will if there is more that you’d like to say to those who will be involved with it after you pass.
Remember, your will does need to have multiple witnesses. Your attorney will help set things up so that you can have neutral parties sign the will and verify that you were the one who created it. You won’t be able to have witnesses sign the will if they stand to inherit anything from your estate, so you will need to find individuals who are not beneficiaries to witness your signature.
Your will is important, and it can reduce conflicts following your death
It is important to note that your will could reduce conflicts following your death. You have the opportunity to add information in the will that explains your intentions and why you’ve divided assets in the way you chose.
Adding a letter can make your wishes clear. This can help reduce the risk of conflicts, since those who might have spoken up or complained about the will can hear exactly why you made the choices that you did.
Many times, people who contest wills do so out of misunderstandings or because they feel slighted. By adding your own letter and personal touch to your will, you may be able to help take away that frustration and minimize the risk of a conflict escalating to the court.
These are a few things to think about as you start estate planning and begin working on your will. A good will can reduce conflicts and will make sure your wishes are carried out.