Benjamin Franklin once said, “Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” No one wants to think about death, but a little planning can ensure your assets are divided smoothly after you are gone.
Make a plan.
A will dictates where your assets go when you die. Without it, you will not have a say, and someone else will determine how to allocate your assets. Given that you have worked hard for what you own, it is important where, what, how much and to whom you want it to go is clear. Wills are especially important if you have a business or children from a previous marriage and want to prevent any potential family disputes.
List what you own.
Make a list of all your assets, no matter the value, and determine who should receive them. Make sure you include investment accounts and life insurance policies. It may even be helpful to ask your beneficiaries what they want. Some may have a preference on a particular item that others may not care for. This can help prevent any future ill will or disagreements. No matter how much you have, a will is important, especially if you have young children. You can decide who can step in as their guardian and what should happen to their assets.
Choose the executor.
The executor is the person responsible for making sure what you decide on the will is carried out. This person will oversee the transfer of your assets to the beneficiaries. Make sure it is someone you trust. If you are married, you can name your spouse. It is helpful to have an alternate executor named as well.
Talk to a professional.
Emotions can be high in writing up a will. Depending on how much you have, planning can be quite complicated and stressful. It may be a good idea to consult an expert who can help you navigate through this process. They can provide objective advice with knowledge on the most up-to-date estate laws. You will want to choose somebody who respects your wishes.
A letter of personal instruction can add to what is not covered in a will. This can include account numbers, passwords, burial arrangements and the location of important documents. The note can contain personal wishes of how you want people to remember you and the legacy that you would like to leave behind!