Drafting a will isn’t something that people look forward to doing – after all, planning for your own mortality isn’t anyone’s idea of recreation. The reality, though, is that having your affairs in order can make life much lighter. Putting your basics down on paper can be a huge help to your family.
The process of creating a will should not be that complicated, but I recommend that people have a professional adviser assist them with doing their will. For most people, preparing a will and putting their estate plan together usually involves a visit to a lawyer.
What people have to recognize is that a will is a very important document, but a will is just one part of the planning process. What you’re really trying to do is to get your affairs in order, but you have to look at your total plan. You have to look at what your assets are, and what they’re likely to be in the future. You have to look at what your family situation is. Everybody’s situation is unique, but you’re trying to get your affairs in order so that when you pass away, everything will be looked after with a minimum of fuss. For most people, a will is the largest part of that plan.
But there are a lot of common things that people place in their will. They have properties in joint tenancy with their spouse and it will pass automatically to that person. They’ll have life insurance that’ll go automatically to a named beneficiary. There’s a lot of other things that you want to d,o and the process of putting your will together is usually the time that you want to review all of those things, to make sure you’re not leaving your life insurance to your ex-spouse, things like that.
One of the main things to do in a will is appoint an executor who then has legal authority from the moment of death to look after your estate. One of the first things that an executor is instructed to do – gather up the estate assets, but also to pay all the debts, the funeral, testamentary expenses.
I’m always a fan of people having a professional adviser to assist them and the reason for that is that the process usually involves a complete review of your own situation, discussion of the law and how it applies to your situation and then what it is you want to do and putting it into effect. It’s actually a fairly complex area of the law and I’ve seen a lot of tragedies and huge bills later on…
With any additional questions about creating a will, contact us at Accessible Legal Services at 501-620-4242.