Importance of a Will

A will is critical in caring for your family after you die. It is a document that gets filed with the court and helps tell those left behind how to handle your most delicate and important affairs. There are several functions a will serves. Discover some of the integral things to aid in preparation.

Choosing an Executor

When you first sit down to draft a will, you must think about who you want to take responsibility for administering it. An executor is a person you put in charge of ensuring your estate plan is followed, especially when it comes to your will. The executor should be someone you believe is emotionally and mentally capable of doing the duties required of the role. It should be an adult at the time you draft your will. If applicable, the executor must initiate probate proceedings in the local court. Some common duties of an executor include:

  • Paying debts per probate
  • Liquidating assets to pay debts and heirs
  • Distributing property in accordance with your wishes
  • Attending court as needed for probate

If no one in your personal life would be an appropriate executor, you may choose an attorney to fulfill the role.

Deciding Who Gets Personal Property

Your will is the place where you get to decide who gets what. This includes anything you own outright or solely. Accounts and property held jointly with someone else automatically go to the other account owner. You leave both intangible property in your will, such as assets as well as tangible property, like real estate and cash. You may want to leave heirlooms to individuals, and your will is also the place to do that. If you are married, it is likely your assets and property will pass to them. However, you may still divvy up personal property to others.

Naming a Guardian for Minor Children

One of the most important functions of a will is the guardianship of children. When you become a parent, it is crucial that you create a will so that your children are cared for by someone of your choosing should you die before they reach 18. However, a will is only for naming guardians of minor children. You cannot name a guardian for an adult child with special needs. That requires another set of documents to facilitate. A will is a complex legal document, and as such, you should speak with a local estate planning lawyer or wills lawyer. Jotting something down on a piece of paper is not enforceable in court. Instead, rely on the knowledge and experience of a skilled and knowledgeable wills lawyer.