While it can be difficult to think about your own mortality, it is often vital to caring for your family in the event of your unexpected death. Without a will, everything you own is in jeopardy. Your children may not even end up where you want them.
Too many Americans live life without a will, which is a serious issue that should be addressed. When you are planning your own will, consider these key questions.
1. What assets do you have?
More than your liquid assets and cash should be included in your will. Consider your retirement funds, investments, credit cards, bank accounts and anywhere else you may have money or property tied up. If you are unaware of your own assets, then you can’t determine who ends up with them.
2. How can you provide for your children?
You may want to choose a different person to be the trustee of your children’s inheritance than the person who actually gets custody of them. If your children are older and live on their own, you might encourage them to consult a financial planner about how to handle their inheritance.
3. How do you leave specific things to specific people?
Your daughter may be attached to your book collection, while your best friend really wants your firearm safe. If you want specific items to go to specific people, you may need to create a separate document that is included with your will. This may be more of a letter that details your requests, rather than a formal part of your will.
4. How often should it be updated?
Just creating a will is not enough. Once you write your will, you should meet with your estate lawyer every five years or so to make any necessary changes. Your assets, wants and desires can alter greatly over time, and your final will should reflect those changes.