What’s Stopping You from Updating or Writing Your Last Will?
If you died, what would your loved ones do?
Friends or family may cry rivers of tears. But everyone will want to know if you left a will.
Because without a will no one knows what to do. Your money and assets are immediately frozen on your death. Only your estate executor named in your will can get access to them.
Hopefully you specified your wishes in your will. If you did not make your will, what happens? Your loved ones will struggle to find answers.
If you are gone, everyone needs to know:
• who is in charge,
• who gets what and when,
• who pays your bills and taxes.
Why Do You Need to Write Your Will?
Legally, no one can follow your instructions unless you have a valid will. Your will tells everyone who is in charge and who gets everything.
When you die, ownership of your assets must be transferred. This happens either by law or by your will. Your personal plan to transfer your assets is your will. Poorly made wills lead to court fights, family disagreements and will disputes. Making proper wills is, therefore, important to protect your wishes.
Whether you are single, widowed or without family doesn’t matter. You need a plan to deal with your stuff when you are gone. You can do this easily in your will. Let’s cover some basics about wills.
Know These Things When You Write Your Will
• Wills must meet legal requirements
Your instructions and wishes are only enforceable if your will meets all necessary legal requirements. That means your wills must be signed, dated and witnessed correctly based on laws in your jurisdiction.
• Wills are legal documents that you sign
Usually two witnesses must see you sign your will. Each jurisdiction (province or state) has different rules to make wills legal. Generally, paper and two witnesses are required to see you sign your will. You can’t dictate your will on your phone.
• Wills name executors or personal representatives to handle everything
Everything you leave behind is your estate. Your estate includes stuff like money, real estate, cars and stocks. These are your assets.
• Your estate executors take your place after you’re gone
Your estate or personal representatives are legally authorized to carry out your final legal wishes. Executors (not executioners) distribute your stuff to people (beneficiaries) named in your will. Executors can arrange funerals and pay your taxes.
• Executors are responsible for your estate when you die
This is essential for businesses, funerals or when legal action must be taken. Wills let you choose who benefits from and controls your estate.
• Your will can provide for loved ones with special needs
Were you supposed to protect disabled children, spouses, spendthrift children and charities? Without wills, your children, stepchildren, common law partners or same-sex partners may inherit nothing. You can prevent that injustice.
• Wills name guardians for minors, create trusts and reduce taxes – and grief.
You will need legal advice to deal with these issues in your will.
Want help making your will? See my introduction to this Summer series for details.
Subscribe to my estate blog for my summer series.
My next post is about the advantages of making your will.Posted By: Ed Olkovich In: Estates, Wills On: July 25th, 2018