Being a responsible husband and father is a combination of many decisions, some of which are simple and others, not so much. Will preparation definitely falls into the latter category. The importance of a will cannot be exaggerated enough, yet some individuals still take their time before making it. When you have a spouse and children, a will is one of the best gifts you can bestow on them. The thought that you may have to leave your kids and wife behind is not appealing to anyone, but nobody’s future is assured. Unexpected situations pop up all the time, and it is sensible to have your affairs in order in such circumstances.
The Significance of a Will
Some men think that because they have very few assets that a will doesn’t hold as much magnitude, but that is misguided. Even when you only have jewelry and a small bank account, a will clears up doubts when you are no longer around to stipulate the terms. Preparing a will allows you to manage your affairs in a manner you see fit. Whether you want your children to hold equal shares in a company or have all your investments to go to your wife, you can say that in a will.
This document expresses your last wishes, which your heirs are legally bound to fulfill. It is common for relatives and family members to fight over the wealth of the deceased, especially when it is a substantial one. In such conflicts, it is more likely that whatever you had intended for your assets is not going to matter. By leaving a will, you can avoid such trouble. If your will clearly states that a fraction of your estate goes to charity, then that is what will happen.
Another motivation to get you to write your own will is what happens to your children when you die. In an unfortunate case where your kids are left without parents, your will can say who is responsible for them. Minors need a guardian, and that means you must find someone worthy to fill that role. The guardian can also be responsible for handling the estate until your kids reach a certain age
Now that you grasp the implications of organizing your estate, learning the basics of how to prepare a will is next. The following guidelines will help your cross out this very crucial process in your life.
Talk to your attorney
Firstly, legal counsel is not required when writing a will; it is just advisable. With the availability of online resources like guidebooks and legal websites, more people are taking active roles in their wills and estate planning. A will can be the reason your family stays together or drifts apart, therefore, be very cautious when preparing it.
Putting together a list of everything you own
You may have investments spread out all over, so it may take a while to get all the accurate information. Note that your valuables don’t only have to be monetary. Some stuff like family albums, heirlooms, and music collections may hold sentimental value. You may want such items to pass down to generations. Of course, you should know the monetary value of tangible assets like properties and cars. Don’t forget about life insurance and other funds.
Educate yourself on local laws
Estate and planning regulations may vary from state to state, so factor them in. For instance, having a joint will with your spouse may not apply in some parts of the country. The issue of community property is another one you have to consider when learning how to write your own will. You should also learn what happens if you were residing in one region then died in another. Find out about all the laws that may affect the execution of your will such as local probate rules. Legal advice may be suitable at this point.
Decide how you want to divide your valuables
Be very clear with this part. Saying that you want your properties to be shared equally among all your children is not the same as sharing among all your legitimate children. The wording has to be as concise as possible. Don’t leave legal loopholes that can be exploited. If you want the children to receive their inheritance when they reach a particular age, state that unambiguously. Also, name the person who will be responsible for your children’s inheritance until they reach that age.
Choosing the executor to handle your affairs
This person will be responsible for carrying out the wishes laid out in the will. Seeing as the executor will have control of your will, make certain it is someone you can trust. Of course, he/she should know about the plans you have for your children and estate. This individual will be responsible for setting your heirs straight when they start going against your last wishes.
Pick the guardian for your children
For a man with children, your pick for guardian is as crucial as the executor or even more. Minors have to be in the care of a responsible adult in the case both parents are not around. This decision is undoubtedly a hard one, but it has to be made. Your children’s guardian can be a relative or a friend that you trust with their well-being. This individual will have to raise your kids and teach them everything you were supposed to but didn’t have the chance. An alternate guardian is a very good idea if circumstances exclude your first choice. Selecting a guardian is a subject to be discussed with your spouse.
Keep your will safely
Two witnesses should be present during your will preparation to testify that you are of sound mind at the time. Your will should also make it clear that you were mentally capable and not under duress when stating all your wishes. Include personal details like your name, social security number, and address to verify the will is yours. A will must be dated and signed to be legal. Store your will safely and make sure at least one person knows where it is. This person could be your spouse, children, or executor.
No one wants to leave the family behind, especially the kids. But sometimes, unexpected circumstances occur in the most unexpected time. That is why it is practical to prepare everything and make sure that you don’t leave a mountain of problems for your beloved family after you passed.
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