Many people put off making a will, thinking that there is always time, and many of them end up dying without a will. However, creating a comprehensive will can save a lot of time, hassle and money. Wills are not just about assigning your financial assets. Your will is also the instrument for communicating several important decisions.
If you have minor children, your will is the right place to name their guardian and to include provisions for issues such as education. It is always a good idea to discuss this with the prospective guardian and other related parties before arranging it in your will. This way, your wishes are more likely to be carried out without lengthy legal action. To fully cover the most likely possibilities, you may want to include alternative guardians should the original one be unable to undertake this duty.
Your will should also contain a comprehensive list of your assets and how you are distributing each. If you have a spouse, ex-spouse or children whom you specifically do not wish to inherit anything, it is best to be clear about this in your will; merely leaving out their names will not necessarily accomplish your goal. You should also be clear and specific about any charitable orders.
In today’s digital age, there have been a growing number of questions about what happens to a deceased person’s social media and other online accounts. Including clear instructions in your will can help ensure that your accounts are disposed of according to your wishes. It is increasingly common to name a particular person to perform any account deletion or notification to relevant parties.
A will should also name an executor. The executor is the person who will represent your estate and make sure that your orders are properly carried out. Ideally, your choice of executor should not create a conflict of interest. Even when it is not against the law, a substantial conflict can create the appearance of problems such as undue influence. When possible, discuss your plans with your prospective executor and confirm that he or she is willing and able to take on this responsibility.
While will forms are common, most people’s wills are not straightforward enough for a form to be sufficient. Most people are also not able to avoid unintentionally confusing language that is likely to result in disputes later on. Consultation with an attorney can help you understand your options and draft a will that is clear.