Nobody likes to think about making a will, but not drawing one up can lead to probate, additional taxes and unnecessary stress for the people you care about.
Where to start?
While there’s no ideal age for making your will, there is a minimum age—18. And a will doesn’t have to be written by an attorney or by using will-writing software. It can be a simple, typewritten document detailing how you want your assets distributed among your heirs, favorite charities and/or companions. However, if you’re naming legal guardians for your minor children or if your estate is substantial, consulting an attorney is probably a good idea.
Learn how The First can help simplify settling your estate. Contact our Estate Administration unit at: http://www.fnbn.com/trust-wealth/estate-administration/
Selecting an executor
An executor is someone named in your will as being legally responsible for your financial affairs after your death. This person will not only distribute your assets among your heirs, but also settle any remaining bills, taxes or financial obligations using money from your estate. Your executor should be someone who is honest, detail-oriented and adept at resolving disagreements if necessary. It’s also a good idea for the executor to live near the location of your assets in case he or she needs to appear in court or manage documents. Many people name a family member such as a spouse, sibling or an adult child to handle these responsibilities.
I, [your name here], being of sound mind…
Yes, this is actually a thing. It’s necessary to prevent people from contesting your will based on the assertion that you were not mentally competent when you created it. It must also be clear that the document is your will. And while it doesn’t absolutely need to be notarized, you must sign your will in front of at least two witnesses.
Naming primary and secondary beneficiaries
A primary beneficiary is your first choice to inherit your assets. Choosing secondary or contingent beneficiaries is helpful in the event that your primary beneficiary dies before you do or fails to meet certain conditions for inheritance. When selecting your beneficiaries, be sure to use complete first, middle and last names to avoid confusion with similarly named relatives.
Once you’ve drawn up your will, be sure to update it after major life events such as a new baby, a divorce, or the death of one of your beneficiaries.
Note: The information contained in this blog is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified legal or estate & probate professional.
What do you think is the most important consideration when making up a will? Let us know in the comments below.