It is very important to take the time to prepare a will if you would like to distribute your belongings to certain people within your family or to friends. If you have a child or children, a will is needed so they are not placed into a foster care program upon your death. Here are some tips to use when preparing a will so you can be at peace knowing your heirs and belongings will be well-taken care of if you should die.
Put Children First
The most important portion of a will if you have children is who you wish to care for them in your absence. Without a will, if you do not have a living spouse, your children will at the mercy of the state, perhaps not going to live with a living relative who could have cared for them instead. You will also want to specify items that belong to your children in your will so they will be able to retain possession of these belongings after you pass away.
Make A List
Write down a list of your assets and designate a person within your family or group of friends to give each item to. When selecting, think about who would appreciate each item and whether it has a special meaning between you and someone else so they will cherish it when you are gone. You can write a blurb about why you are giving an item to someone so they will understand your intention when the will is read disclosing who receives what.
Designate An Executor
Even though you have your wishes printed out to be placed into your will, you will want to designate someone who will carry out these wishes for you. An executor will oversee the distribution of items within your estate, making sure each person you designate will receive the appropriate gifts you have set aside for them in your will. This person will also take care of your estate, making sure bills get paid in full before the property is given to heirs or sold for monetary compensation to be given to heirs. The executor will take the burden off the others in the family, so select someone who is organized and trustworthy to undertake this task full of responsibility.
Get Professional Help
You have the option of going to an attorney to get a will drafted and finalized, or you can use online services to fill out the information on your own. If you opt for the latter route, it is advisable to still contact a lawyer to look over information you print. Have the attorney sign the documents so they are valid. People who prepare their own wills often think this will be enough; however, the paperwork may not be accepted, as anyone could have printed the information and passed it off as a will in your behalf.
Keep Up To Date
You will want to look over the information you had placed in your will every so often to make sure nothing has changed. If you have new assets or no longer have some of the ones listed in the will, you will want to change the list of item distribution. If your executor dies, you will want to designate a new person to take over. If you get married, get divorced, have a baby, or change your mind about designations in your will, you will need to contact your lawyer to draft a new one to be used. If you move across state lines, check to see if your will is still valid as some states have stipulations in place regarding out-of-state executors or marital property rules.
For more information about wills, visit Wilson Deege Despotovich Riemenschneider & Rittgers.