Wills & Guardianship: Simple Checklist
Many people put off getting their Will written as they think it may be a long and complicated process.
While the contents of your Will should be carefully thought out, it can be a relatively quick and easy process when seeking the help of a professional Will Writer.
Here is a list of the main things you will need to get your Will ticked off your to-do list.
Your beneficiaries are the people that you want to inherit your assets or belongings when you pass away. You can be as specific as you wish with what you give to whom and how much you give. A beneficiary can be your spouse, your children, extended family, or even friends and charities. You can also assign back up beneficiaries in case the initial beneficiaries have also passed away.
Who should manage your personal belongings?
When you pass on, you may have some idea of what should happen to certain personal belongings. If your children are young, you may nominate someone to look after your ‘stuff’ until your children are old enough to decide what to do with it all. With specific reference in your Will, you can ensure that family heirlooms remain in the family line. A pet is considered a personal belonging, so it is equally important that you make provisions for any pets in your care.
A guardian is a person you assign to take care of your children if both parents had passed away. If you pass away without having legally appointed guardians for your minor children, the courts effectively decide who will look after them; in some cases, this could mean the children ending up in state care.
If the guardians you assign live in a different country to your children, you should also appoint local temporary guardians who can take care of them in the short term, ensuring the children are cared for by people you know and trust, until they can be transferred to the permanent guardians.
An executor is a person you would like to execute your Will and manage your estate. This should ideally be someone that you trust to implement the instructions exactly how you would want. It is a common misconception that a beneficiary cannot act as an executor, but in most cases, your main beneficiary and executor will be the same person, namely your spouse. In some countries, you must appoint two executors to act jointly if you have minor beneficiaries.
Trustees (if you have beneficiaries under age 21)
If your beneficiaries are minors, they cannot legally inherit directly. You must entrust someone – a trustee – to look after and manage the inheritance for the minors until they come of age. This could be a long term appointment, and it is important that you carefully consider who to appoint. Often, but not always, your executors will also act as trustees, and it may make sense to include the legal guardian as a trustee.
A professional to write your Will
A Will is probably the most important legal document you will ever have to sign. Therefore it is critical that it is written in a language that is clear and concise but also conforms with the laws in your jurisdiction, and that the Will is signed in accordance with the legal requirements in the country which it covers. A professional Will writer can ensure that your Will is true to your wishes and executed as seamlessly as possible with no legal complications.
Your Will is extremely personal and can trigger emotional thoughts and conversations between you and your loved ones, so it is often put off until a later date. However, not having considered the above things can lead to unwanted distress for your loved ones and your wealth not being passed on in the way you would want.
Phoenix Wills can help you create the best estate plan in line with your wishes. Contact us here for a free consultation and get your Will done today!