Writing a will or estate plan can be a nervewracking process, but you must start it if you have the best interests of your family in mind. However, don't forget that effective estate planning doesn't end with writing a will. When writing your estate plan, you structure your estate and indicate how you would like the assets to be distributed. Writing an estate plan or will doesn't only minimise family disputes after you are dead, but it also reduces tax issues. If you want to create a comprehensive will or estate plan, here's how you should go about it:
Clarify Who Gets What
Don't make a stroke of a pen before you have identified the individuals that will inherit your estate or property. Naming the beneficiaries gives your will or estate plan authority. Your beneficiaries shouldn't just include your siblings, kids or spouse, but probably also any institutions or charitable organizations you'd like to contribute to. If you don't want one or some of the family members to inherit your estate, you should clearly indicate it in the will. You can leave all the assets or the entire estate to your spouse or divide it among your children in equal or different shares.
Identify a Trustworthy Guardian or Executor
If you have minor beneficiaries or minor children, you need to name a guardian when writing a will or estate plan. Everyone wants to feel they have a trustworthy person to take care of their minor beneficiaries when they die. For most couples, they name their spouses as the guardian, but divorced spouses reach out to their ex-spouses when the time to name a guardian comes.
If all your beneficiaries are adults, you need an executor — someone who will ensure your beneficiaries get their share of inheritance as you had indicated in your will. An executor doesn't always have to be a family member or a friend; they could also be a professional, trustworthy colleague, financial advisor or even a wills and estates lawyer.
Consult an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
Since you need to create an estate plan or will that gives you and your family peace of mind, involve a legal professional in the process. If you want your finances, healthcare insurance, property rights and assets to get maximum legal protection, then working with a wills and estates lawyer is the smartest thing to do. The lawyer will go through all the paperwork involved and identify pitfalls that may affect your beneficiaries in the future, especially if you have children with special needs.
To learn more about wills and estate plans, contact an attorney such as CJM Lawyers.