10 Obligations You Must Do When Writing Your Will
We take this life for granted when in reality, no one knows when and how our lives may come to an end. Nothing can perhaps be more unpredictable than life and what`s ironic is that most of our possessions will probably outlast us. Most of the people do not think about writing their will, till they get to their old age and death starts knocking on the door. Not everyone has the same luck; you`d have to be very lucky to live a full life, make it to the old age and then write your will.
The last six months have made this very clear; the virus has claimed over half a million lives in the world, so many people have left the world. People who had plans for their life but fate had something else planned for them.
For this reason, it is very important to take out time to write your will when you still have time, so that your family members and dependents do not have to face unnecessary hardships after your death with regards to your estate. In order to make the process of writing a will easier, here are 10 things that you must do when writing your will.
1. Hire a lawyer or DIY will kit?
The first thing that you will need to consider is that are you going to hire a professional lawyer to write your will or are you going to do it yourself through a DIY 10 Things That You Should Do When Writing Your Willwill kit?
Hiring a professional lawyer will have its cost, but when you look at the service given by a professional lawyer, then there really is no substitute for a lawyer. Lawyers are professionally qualified to render these services and this is what they do for a living therefore if you hire a professional lawyer, you will not have to worry about the legal and technical aspects of writing a will and instead you will simply have to focus on the finer details of your will.
Whereas if you decide to use a DIY will kit, then you can save up on the costs of hiring a lawyer, but you will need to be very careful while writing up your will. DIY writing kits can be bought for under $100 AUD, they usually come up with detailed instructions on how you are supposed to draw up the will, but even with most detailed instructions, they are simply not a substitute for a professionally qualified lawyer. However, people who have studied law may find DIY kits as a better option, but if you haven`t studied law and do not understand legal terminologies, then you can be better off with a professionally qualified lawyer.
2. Appoint an Executor
An executor is someone who will be tasked with making sure that your will is executed as per your wishes after your passing away. Needless to say that appointing a responsible executor whom you can trust is just as important as making the will itself.
You can either name a beneficiary as an executor or you can also appoint an impartial person, a relative, friend or even your attorney is your executor. Some people like to appoint one of their beneficiaries as their executor because a person who is a beneficiary can make sure that the will is carried out properly. However there can be situations where the person making the will fears that the beneficiaries may dispute with each other over the execution of the will and therefore in this situation, it may be better to appoint an impartial person as an executor.
3. Are you Married or Divorced?
Marriage has a direct effect on the will and how it is executed. If you made your will when you were single, and then you got married, then you will need to update your will because marriage nullifies the will. Your spouse becomes a legal inheritor; therefore, there will be a need to adjust the will to account for this change. Similarly, if you were married when you drew up your will and then subsequently you got divorced, in such a situation too you will need to adjust your will to account for this change.
Your common-law partner may not be able to inherit directly from you in certain jurisdictions therefore if you live with a partner and you two haven`t got married then you will need to make sure that you name your partner in your will so that they can legally inherit from you. There are so many instances where people do not consider this legal aspect and their partners face difficulties once they pass away.
4. Appointing Guardians
If you have got children, then you should think about appointing a guardian who can legally take care of your minor kids after your passing away. The guardian can be anyone whom you trust, a friend or even a family member. You may need to specify the sources from which the guardian is to be paid for looking after your minor children.
You can also appoint a guardian to look over you restate for your minor children till they come of age at which point they can use their inheritance. Take our time to make sure that you have spelt out all of the guidelines that you want to pass on to your minor children such as
- Where should they live
- Which school should they attend
- When can they have control over their inheritance
- You can also leave personal advice to your children in your will
So just make sure that you think this through properly, there is no need to make haste. Remember whatever you write in your will, is going to reflect upon those who are going to be affected by your will. This is how they will cherish your memory after you are gone.
If you have got any debts such as a mortgage, lease or personal loans etc, then you should state them out clearly in your will. Include all the relevant details related to your debts. In case of death, debts hold preference of payment, so your estate and property will be used to pay off the debts first and then whatever is left will be divided among your inheritors and beneficiaries.
6. Power of Attorney
You can also decide to appoint someone whom you trust as your enduring power of attorney. Your power of attorney will have the legal power to make decisions on your behalf if you are in such a state where you cannot make decisions for yourself. For instance, due to Covid-19 pandemic, many people have to spend days and weeks on ventilators in a semi-conscious estate, in such a situation having a power of attorney can ensure that the matters related to your finances and estate are taken care of according to your wishes.
7. Funeral Instructions
You can also layout your own funeral instructions in your will. You can define everything from how the funeral is to be arranged, who should be invited, how much is to be spent, where you want t be laid to rest, whether you want to be buried or cremated etc.
If this is something you are interested in, then you can state this out in your will to make sure that your wishes are honoured after our death.
8. Assets and all things owned
It is important to make a list of you all of your assets and other things that you cherish and own. First of all, make a list of all of your assets and liabilities, this is important because your assets will need to be divided among your inheritors and beneficiaries.
Next, you should also make sure that some of your valuable belongings are also distributed among your friends and relatives. They don`t have to be valuable objects per se; they can be anything. Items that you owned, a photo album perhaps or a painting. Something that you used, these items have emotional value and are cherished by loved ones.
It has been seen that friends and relatives of people who pass away without writing a will, miss them and wish that they had something to remember them by. Therefore, giving out some of your personal belongings may be a good way of making your loved ones pleased after your death.
Beneficiaries are people of organizations that you wish to benefit after your death. You can leave them gifts, belongings or a part of your residuary estate. So make sure that you identify your beneficiaries, possibly with their contact details so that they can be traced down after your death and contacted.
10. Charities and bequests
You can also leave a portion of your residual estate for charities, and you can also bequeath your residual property and wealth to a charity of your liking. In addition to this, you can also state whether you want your organs to be donated or not. Organ donation may also require some additional legal requirements, but you can state this out in your will if you want to donate your organs after your death.
These are some of the matters that you will need to consider at the time of writing your will. Make sure that you take your time to consider every matter in as much depth as possible because the implications will be far-reaching, affecting those who love you.
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