Almost half of Americans over the age of 55 don’t have a will written. If they were to die tomorrow, their families would be left with the dreadful task of dividing up their estate. This often leads to family fights and years of legal battles.
Instead of putting this burden on your family and loved ones, write a will as soon as possible. No one ever wants to think about their death, but your will is not something you should ignore.
Don’t know exactly what to include in a will? Keep reading to discover helpful tips for writing a will.
1. Name Your Executor
When it comes to your wills and estate plans, one of the most important things to do is name your executor. An executor is a person who ensures that all your final wishes are carried out as requested.
You should choose someone who is responsible that you know you can trust. Be sure to include some type of compensation for them doing this job, as it does take time and effort.
If you don’t want to leave this responsibility to a family member or trusted friend, you can choose an attorney. Going this route will require a certain percentage of your estate as payment in exchange for being the executor.
2. Choose Your Beneficiaries
When writing a will, you’ll want to carefully choose your beneficiaries. These are the people who will receive your assets.
You can choose as many or as few beneficiaries as you desire. Think about the size of your estate and who you want to leave a portion of it to.
Your beneficiaries can each receive a percentage of your estate total. Or, you can divide up your assets and specify who is to receive which items.
3. Select a Guardian
The final item on this list of what to put in a will is to select a guardian for your children.
When it comes to a guardian for your dependents, you’ll want to consult with your top options before including them in your will. You’ll want to make sure that the person you name is willing to take on the responsibility.
Consider including a few choices in your final will. That way, in case your top choice dies before you or is no longer able to be a guardian, there is a back-up already named.
If you don’t have any children or dependents, you can skip this step. But, keep in mind that many people choose to name guardians for their pets to ensure they go to a good home.
Beyond What to Include in a Will
Now that you know the basics of what to include in a will, you can start writing your own.
The most important thing to remember when writing your will is to be as specific as possible. If not, someone may contest the will later and make a decision that goes against your wishes. In addition, make sure that you update your will regularly, as your circumstances and needs will change over time.
Looking for ways to take better care of your assets while you’re still alive? Head to the Money section of this site for all the best advice.