Whether it’s simple or complex, a will protects your assets and your family. But many people don’t have a will, so they leave behind unnecessary legal bills and disputes.
In a previous blog post, we identified the mistakes to avoid when preparing a will. Today, the wills and trusts attorneys at the Davidson Law Group return to this topic and provide important questions to ask before you write your will. By answering these questions and writing a proper will, you can control the future of your estate when you pass.
Who Will Be the Executor of Your Will?
An executor is your personal representative who administers your final wishes. He or she is responsible for handling your estate after you pass. If you’re married, your primary executor is usually your spouse. Your executor can be a child, all of your children together, a sibling, or even an institution like a bank or a law firm.
Do You Want to Leave Bequests?
Bequests are specific items of personal property that you leave to a beneficiary, for example, a car, jewelry, real estate, art, or a sum of money. You can define each gift either as a percentage of assets or as a fixed amount. Fixed sums are usually easier to carry out than percentages of total assets.
How Are Your Assets Held?
You may share a property with a spouse or sibling. Or perhaps you share ownership of your business with a partner. Always be clear in your will regarding what property you own outright and what property is under shared ownership.
Assets can be held in many ways, for example, held in joint ownership with right of survivorship, as tenants-in-common where you hold half-interest, or held with a beneficiary designation. If you hold assets in shared ownership, it is best to contact a wills and trusts attorney for assistance.
How Do You Want Your Assets Distributed?
Common beneficiaries are your spouse, children, extended family, and favorite charities. However, it’s important to plan for the unexpected. If you’re remarried and you want assets from a previous marriage to go to your children, put these items in your will. Remember that you’re not required to distribute assets equally when dealing with children or other dependents.
Who Will Be Appointed Guardian of Minor Children?
This question also applies to “what if” scenarios. If both parents pass, your family and the court will refer to your will when deciding who becomes the guardian of your children. Without your wishes in writing, the state will make a decision that’s out of your control. You could nominate your parents to raise minor children if the situation allows. Be sure to discuss your decision with potential guardians before naming them in your will.
Related Post: An Estate Planning Attorney Discusses Minor Children
Get Help from a Wills and Trusts Attorney
If you live in Texas and you are beginning the estate planning process, you’ve come to the right place. A will is a starting point for your estate plan, and Davidson Law Group wills and trusts attorneys can provide valuable advice. Schedule your free consultation with us today!