Basics to Know Before You Write Your Will
Most people don’t like to think about dying while in the prime of their lives. However, all people need to clarify where their assets will go after they die. Otherwise, all of an individual’s possessions will be turned over to the government, instead of loved ones, upon his or her death. Wills are an excellent way to avoid that situation.
If you or a family member plans to write a will soon, here is some basic information to get you started.
What Is the Purpose of a Will?
Wills are legally binding documents that clarify an individual’s wishes regarding his or her assets after death. They can also allow individuals to give instructions to family members concerning how to carry out medical and legal matters if they lose the capacity to communicate decisions.
When you create your will, you can provide those you leave behind with evidence of your wishes so that you remove any doubts or prevent any difficulties that may arise.
Wills allow you to do the following:
- Leave money to certain individuals.
- Clarify how your assets will be divided.
- Designate caretakers for any young children.
- Distribute heirlooms to family members or others.
- Appoint an executor who will ensure the will is distributed correctly.
- Offer donations to charity.
- Provide any other desired instructions (for instance, wishes concerning funeral arrangements).
Some people assume that wills are only for wealthy people. However, not everyone who makes a will has large amounts of money or owns a lot of property.
Every person has a legal right to create a will that sets matters in place after that person’s death. You can even leave behind small items to certain people, such as coins, letters, artwork, jewellery or photographs. Any property or belongings you leave behind are considered your estate, and you have the right to clarify how they will be distributed.
What Are the Benefits of Writing a Will?
A will gives you peace of mind. If you have a will, you can rest assured knowing that your assets will be distributed exactly as you have written. You have the ability to give gifts or assets to friends or relatives after your death as you wish.
In contrast, if you die without a will or your will is invalid, the courts will gain control over your assets. The courts will distribute your possessions according to a pre-determined formula after paying any fines or taxes on your assets. Simply put, when you die without a will, you cannot clarify your wishes.
Additionally, courts will often require additional taxes and fees from the estate of an individual who dies without a will. Similarly, heirs often receive less money if you don’t have a will because a portion of your estate pays those fees that could have been avoided with a written will.
When Should I Write My Will?
Wills are a very important legal document that shouldn’t be left unfinished or left for the last minute. Anyone 18 years or older can create a will if that person has the mental capability. Individuals with mild mental disabilities or early signs of dementia may also have the ability to write a will, depending on their mental capacity. In some cases, the Supreme Court can even grant an individual under the age of 18 the ability to create a will.
Most legal professionals recommend creating a will as early as possible to ensure you are prepared for the worst-case scenario. If you do choose to create a will at a young age, keep your will up to date as you grow older. You may want to update your will if you have children, get married, become separated from a spouse or receive additional assets. The courts will consider the latest revision of your will when you die.
Wills are essential documents that provide clarity about your estate after you die. Trust an experienced, legal professional to help you create a will that ensures your wishes are carried out as you would want them to be.