When you prepare a will, you create a roadmap for the family you leave behind; a roadmap that can make your passing an easier process to deal with. As such a critical legal document, a will is only effective when it is complete and thoughtfully drafted. Although you are probably eager to jump right in and prepare your will, there are some critical steps you should complete beforehand.
1. Think About the Beneficiaries
With your list of assets in hand, now you want to think about who the beneficiaries of these assets will be. It is always important to keep in mind that these are your assets. The decision as to whom you leave them behind to is entirely your decision to make. You do not have to leave them behind to the person that someone else has told you to. If you need to take extra time with this step, that is OK.
2. Consider an Executor
It is wise to also include an executor as part of the will. The executor ensures that the parameters of your will are followed and serves as somewhat of a manager over your assets. Keep in mind, there are sometimes restrictions in place that may limit a beneficiary to the will from also serving as the executor. Once you meet with an attorney, he or she can let you know what considerations you need to make.
3. Research Tax Implications
When you leave behind an asset, there is always the risk of tax implications. Whether it is real estate property, an investment account, or other assets, the individual that you leave the property to could be required to pay taxes on it. Fortunately, there are different ways that you can structure your assets in the will to limit this burden. For this step, it is especially important that you speak with an attorney to know where you stand.
4. Think About Your Children
If you have young children, it is best to take time to think about their future. The will should include details about who will raise your children, who will manage their assets you left behind, how they will receive their healthcare, and a host of other factors until the child reaches the legal age, and in the event, the other parent is not deceased. Speak with the other parent and take your time as you prepare this important information.
The importance of accuracy and attention to detail with will preparation cannot be underestimated. Consider speaking with a wills and trusts attorney to learn more about how to prepare for the will drafting process and to create your will.