August is National Will Month – Do you have a will?
What do you want to leave behind for your loved ones? One thing is for sure: you don’t want to leave behind a disorganized estate with a sizeable debt. Those who fail to plan for the future often end up leaving a financial and emotional burden on the people they love most. The purpose of National Make a Will Month is to encourage people to take the initiative and plan for their futures. If you don’t have a will drafted yet, we can recommend some attorney’s for all the guidance you need. This article will point out common pitfalls of estate planning and offer effective tips to make sure you do it right the first time.
What is a will?
Do’s and Don’ts For Making a Will
Your will leaves detailed instructions for the distribution of your belongings and property amongst your family and loved ones. It also details who will assume legal guardianship of your children if they’re minors. If a will is not left behind, state intestacy laws will determine what happens to your belongings. Family heirlooms and items of value are distributed according the law of the land, and the individual appointed by the state to assume guardianship of surviving children may not be the person you would prefer. To ensure your assets are divided fairly and correctly, a valid will must be drafted.
• Don’t: Make a Do-It-Yourself will. These appeal to those who want to leave a will without paying the legal fees for an attorney to draw it up. Those who opt for a self-made will put their assets at risk. Hiring a qualified attorney is well worth the investment. They will make sure the will is instructive and legally sound, ensuring that your beneficiaries won’t have to hire an attorney to interpret it down the line.
• Do: Make sure that beneficiary designations on insurance policies and retirement plans are consistent with the contents of your will. These policies and accounts will take precedence over designations specified in your will.
• Do: Update your will with a comprehensive estate plan review. An update will help you understand issues regarding your assets in other states, how to validate your will when moving to a new state, and how to keep the titles of your properties.
• Don’t: Expect the terms of your will to be private. During the probate process, your friends and family will learn about the distribution of your assets. To keep the transfer of possessions more private, look into setting up a trust. Through a trust, your assets change hands confidentially and can be protected from divorce claims.
• Don’t: Rely on a will to protect your assets from creditor claims. If you leave behind a sizeable debt, a creditor may seize your property regardless of who you have chosen to give it to in your will.
• Do: Contact an attorney to help you plan your estate.