While no one wants to think about the inevitable, the sad truth about life is that no one can avoid death. While this is a hard pill for many to swallow, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to ease the burden on your loved ones after you’re gone. A well planned and professionally designed will is one of the strongest assets your family can have to make life a little easier. Of course, all of this is easier said than done. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of everything you need to make a great will that ensures you take care of your loved ones and other matters far into the future.
Choose Wisely When Seeking Help
The first thing to consider is who you’re working with once you start drafting the first iteration of your will, according to This Is Money. While there are plenty of bargain bin services that will do the bare minimum and send you on your way, that’s not good enough. Instead, make it a point that either an attorney from a legal firm such as LegalZoom reviews the fine details of the document or seek guidance from someone whom you trust to help iron out all the kinks that come with writing such a delicate and important document. This way, you’ll never be left sitting up late at night wondering if the wording or the context of your will could create an issue down the road for your family.
Going it alone or Sticking Together
For some couples, talking about making a joint will or filing two separate documents can be a touchy subject, according to AARP. However, it’s always worth considering all your options when looking to the future. By going with two distinct wills, you and your partner can clear up any claims and rights that might arrive from previous spouses and children from other relationships. While the idea of doing everything together is the whole point of marriage, in this case, the flexibility of separate wills can help protect you or your spouse after the other passes away and ensure that everyone in your life can avoid the additional pain and frustration of lengthy legal battles over property and possessions.
Appoint the Right Executor
While most people just assume that the next closest relative or spouse is responsible for settling any outstanding debts, tax concerns, and the distribution of assets, that’s not exactly the truth. Sure, plenty of people go this route when selecting an executor, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to pick someone else, according to USA.gov. In many cases, these people might not be the right choice for the job, so don’t hesitate if you need to choose someone else who is more capable to handle the duties of an executor. Even if it hurts some feelings now, it can save a ton of time and effort later by getting the right person for this tough job.
Consider Adding in a Living Will
In some cases, your will can cover things that go beyond physical possessions and money stored in banks. In the case of your personal wishes and views on the end of your life, a living will – also known as a declaration or advanced healthcare directive according to Women’s Day– can help provide some direction and clarity in this undoubtedly tough time for your family. By going ahead and laying out your views and desires when it comes to artificial respiration and nourishment, you can cut out the debate and potential conflict that arise often during these trying times. While it might not be something that you want to think about, setting aside some time to cover these issues now can completely eliminate this discussion later.
Understand What’s Covered by Your Will
This one ties back to the help of LegalZoom Reviews in the drafting process, but doing a little extra research based on your region can help you get a better understanding of what’s covered and what’s not, according to Business Today. For instance, Muslim law and tradition dictates that only a third of a person’s wealth can be disbursed through a will, while the rest must be dealt with according to religious customs. Having this knowledge up front will help you build a better picture of the power of your will and help you add another layer to the planning process.
Be as Clear as Possible
The final tip to ensure you get the most out of your will might be the simplest, but it’s definitely the most powerful. When writing instructions for assets and requests once you’ve passed, be as clear as possible, according to The Telegraph. While your directions might seem straightforward as you draft your will, keep in mind that your world view and vocabulary could be miles apart from those who are closest to you. Because of this, simple and clear directions can help you put all the pieces together for an effective and efficient will that lets your family focus on all the good times and not troubled by trying to sort out what you’ve left behind.