When it comes to estate planning, many are intimidated by the idea of having a will because getting a will is an acknowledgment of our own mortality. However, a will provides peace of mind—not only in that your money will be handled as you wish when the time comes, but that your wishes in general will be known. This is especially important with dependents. Our discussion today will focus on why you should have a will, and some elements you might want to consider before meeting with a legal professional to draft the document itself.
Making Arrangements for Your Dependents
In the event of your death, who would you want to look after your dependents? If you have minor children or someone else who relies upon you, your will is the best place to make your wishes regarding care of those person(s) known. Without specifying in a will who will look after your dependents in your stead, it is left up to a judge to assign guardianship.
Making Funeral Arrangements
Again, this is often a topic no one really wants to think about. However, if you want your wishes to be known, you must think about them before the need for a funeral arises, and your will is the first place your family and friends will look to find out what your wishes are. Do you want to be cremated? Buried in a family plot? Maybe you don’t want a funeral service. All of these considerations can be your choice, and you can communicate those choices in your will. When you work with a legal professional to draft your will, he or she will help you consider all the options that lay before you.
Money and Gifts
Is there a family heirloom that you want to go to a particular descendant? Your will is the best place to announce this wish so that there is no question left for your family. Likewise, your will carries your wishes for the monetary value of your estate. Who will be responsible for settling your debts? Who will inherit from you? Are you going to set up a trust for your dependents?
If you find the fear of mortality is holding you back from drafting your will, think of your family and friends. Getting your wishes written out in a will is your best way to ensure that when you do pass, and may it be a long while from now, your family and friends needn’t worry that they aren’t settling your estate according to your wishes.