Writing a will forces you to confront your own inevitable demise, and who wants to do that?
Loving parents, that’s who. A will can be a broad document that not only covers finances, but also who will get custody of your children. It’s called appointing a guardian, and it can be changed at any time once you make it official. My advice is to drop everything and get that done now.
Married people often choose back-to-back wills. These generally do not take much time because the concept is so simple:
- Spouse 1’s will leaves everything to Spouse 2.
- Spouse 2’s will leaves everything to Spouse 1.
Choosing an executor often seems daunting to many people. Luckily, you can hire an attorney or a financial professional to be an executor for you. Be sure that your executor can act as a fiduciary, meaning they look out for your interests and no one else’s. Lawyers are always fiduciaries, whereas if you ask a financial professional, it will depend on the type of financial services they offer.
If you’re doing your own will, don’t make a common mistake: Your witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will. Aunt Shirley will be excluded from your will if she serves as a witness to its signing. Witnesses need to be “disinterested” in the will. Please bear this in mind if you are using a DIY will-generator. Going to a professional is the best bet, but a DIY will witnessed by two disinterested parties is better than nothing.
While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to create your advanced directives, including a Durable POA, in the event you become incapacitated and can’t make your own healthcare decisions.
The amount of work involved in writing a will is really a function of how big your estate is. It’s common for people who were initially hesitant to “see the light” once they experience the security of having a will. It’s not an acquired taste, but you do need to try it at least once to get the effect.
For help counting your assets, or a great referral, contact us.