Things You Should Know Before You Make Your Own Will

While the death of one or both parents is supposed to bring their dependents together, it ends up causing strife, particularly in cases where a will lacks. The lack of a will or clear plan on how to share out a parent’s estate becomes the biggest cause of strife among their successors. In other cases, the deceased’s assets often revert to state due to lack of a proper disposal plan. To avoid this, consider drafting a valid will before you pass on. And as you get to it, here are a few factors to consider with regards to its enforcement and validity.

1. Understand your state rules

Several federal and state laws affect both the validity of your will and its execution. For instance, the federal government imposes an estate tax for wealthiest estates while different states impose an additional estate or inheritance tax on the same. Take this into account when determining the amounts to be received by each of your beneficiaries based on their state of residence. Most importantly, take note of your state’s rules involving do-it-yourself wills as some demand two and others three valid witness signatures.

2. Spell things out clearly

You need to use the right language when writing the will and spell out who you are and the intention of writing the will. For instance, clarify whether this would be your last will and if you are of sound mind and legal age at the time of making the will. If you visit Prime lawyers, they would advise that you make a description of the items you hope to dispose in a will alongside the beneficiaries full names.

3. Name your executor

Your will won’t be complete without an executor. The term refers to the individual or entity you entrust with the responsibility of overseeing the subdivision of your estate among your preferred subsidiaries. In case some of the beneficiaries are minors, you can also appoint them as trustees of the estate on behalf of the recipients until they attain the legal age. Remember to seek their approval beforehand while informing them where to get the will.

4. The will only covers what you own

What happens when some of your assets are tied up in business partnerships? Make a point of understanding your share of the organization as you can only give out what you own. In case of possible post-death payments such as capital market dividends and insurance, create executable payable-on-death or transfer-on-death designations to be issued to these institutions.

5. Make room for contingencies

Experienced estate executors point to this as one of the most assumed parts when creating a will. But what happens when one of your beneficiaries predeceases you or both of you pass on the same

day? Do their entitlements pass on to their children or does it transfer to the rest of the beneficiaries? What if the executor predeceased you, who would you like to take up the mantle? Remember to factor in such contingencies throughout the will making process.

Bottom line

The will creation process doesn’t have to be complicated. You only need to understand the rules guiding its creation. Alternatively, seek professional help from an experienced estate law practitioner.

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