Drafting your will: The first step in estate planning

Drafting your will: The first step in estate planning

| Mar 23, 2020 | Estate Planning, Wills

Thinking about death is never pleasant, but creating an estate plan is necessary. You do not want the loved ones you leave behind embroiled in conflict over your estate. Drafting a will is the first step in the process.

At first, creating a will may seem simple. However, laws vary from state to state, and they can change constantly. Making sure your will is valid and comprehensive can become confusing. In the process of drafting your will, you need to make several key decisions.

A guardian for your children

The most compelling reason to draft a will is to take care of your children. In your will, you can name who will raise your children if you and their other parent both die. Before designating anyone, you may want to ask permission. Be prepared to revise this part of your will if circumstances change.

Your beneficiaries

Your will specifies who gets what after you die. For most people, these assets include money, real estate and personal property. Be as specific as possible. Your heirs may sell some belongings and split the proceeds. Other possessions may have sentimental value, such as classic vehicles, musical instruments and heirloom jewelry.

An executor for the will

Your will makes your wishes known, but assets do not magically transfer themselves. Someone needs to carry out the will’s stipulations. Doing so can be challenging, so your executor must be intelligent and organized. You may choose an attorney or banker, in which case there is a small fee.

Communication with your heirs

It is not enough just to draft a will; you also need to tell people about it. This allows you to ask questions about specific possessions if necessary. For maximum family harmony, you should explain the decisions you are making. Remember that you do not create a will once and forget about it. Review it after major life events such as marriage, relocation or family births. As you revise the will, keep your family updated. You do not want any unpleasant surprises to cause additional heartache when you pass.