5 Considerations to Keep in Mind When Writing a Last Will
Thinking about your own mortality isn’t easy, but doing so is a must if you want to protect your loved ones in all eventualities. By taking a proactive approach to estate planning, you can ensure your family will be taken care of long after you’re gone.
If you’re unsure how to start, drafting a last will and testament is usually the best route. The foundation of every comprehensive estate plan, a last will can address almost all the essentials.
When you’re ready to proceed, here are a few considerations to keep in mind. In answering these questions, you’ll be able to ensure the document is as thorough as possible:
1. Who Will Oversee the Probate Process?
In your will, you can name an executor. This party will be responsible for guiding your estate through the probate proceedings. It’s typically a spouse, sibling, or adult child; however, you can also name a professional, like an attorney, to step in and take on the role.
2. Who Will Care for Any Minor Children?
If you have any children and something were to happen to both you and their other parent before they turned 18, who would care for them? In your will, make sure to name a guardian, so your children are cared for according to your wishes no matter what happens.
3. How Will Your Personal Property Be Distributed?
If your estate is fairly simple, you can distribute all applicable assets in your will. While there are other ways to bequeath property, many people find including it in their will is the easiest way to do so. Should you have concerns about any specific assets, however, talk to an estate planning attorney about how best to proceed before adding them to your will.
4. Who Will Care for Any Pets?
If you have any pets and something were to happen to you while they were still alive, the caregiver named in your will can step in and take them. On a side note, while you cannot leave assets to animals, it may be wise to leave something to their caregiver, so he or she has the funds to continue giving them a comfortable life.
5. How Will Your Family Proceed If Any Terms Cannot Be Met?
Sometimes, the terms of a will cannot be followed. For example, the person whom you name as executor may be unwilling or unable to step up and serve in the role. As such, it’s wise to include contingencies.
Include alternative arrangements for all the most important terms. This will keep the court from having to get involved and make decisions on your behalf after you’re gone should issues arise.
Speak with a Michigan Estate Planning Attorney
At Smith & Johnson, we’re proud to help clients protect their families by making comprehensive arrangements for their estate. If you’re ready to get started—or you need to modify existing arrangements—we can help. Call 231-946-0700 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Michigan.