Our Tips For Discussing Will and Estate Planning With Your Loved Ones
Will planning is an essential task that everyone should consider, as it outlines what will happen to your assets, minor children, and body after death. Planning your will is an emotional topic that many people tend to avoid discussing with their loved ones. However, it is essential to have these conversations to ensure that your wishes are met and that your loved ones are not left with unnecessary stress after you have passed. In this post, we will outline some tips and a checklist that you can use when discussing will planning with your loved ones.
Why Do You Need a Will?
Before we get started with the checklist, let's consider why you need a will in the first place. A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after you pass away. Without a will, the court decides how your assets will be distributed, which may not align with your wishes. Additionally, if you have minor children, your will can nominate a guardian who will be responsible for your children if you pass away. A will also outlines what you would like to happen to your body after death.
Tip 1: Start the Conversation Early
It is best to start the conversation about will and estate planning early. Discussing wills and estates can be a difficult topic, but it is best to have these conversations before they are needed. This will give everyone time to think about what they would like to happen and prepare any necessary documentation. Starting the conversation early will also allow you to make any changes or updates to your will as needed.
Tip 2: Be Open and Honest
When discussing will and estate planning, it is essential to be open and honest with your loved ones. This includes being transparent about your assets, debts, and liabilities. Being open and honest will help avoid any misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is aware of your wishes.
Tip 3: Involve Professionals in Your Will Planning
To ensure that your wishes are upheld after death, it is best to involve a professional lawyer rather than using a will kit. A poorly drafted will can result in will disputes, which can be costly and time-consuming. A professional lawyer can provide guidance and advice on the legal requirements for your will, ensuring that your will is valid and legally binding.
Tip 4: Make a Checklist
It’s important to try to keep a list of what you might need to talk about in your will - as well as any assets and liabilities you have. We suggest making a checklist that considers the following:
- Determine Your Beneficiaries
One of the initial steps when creating a will is deciding who will be designated as your beneficiaries. These individuals or entities will inherit your assets or estate after you pass away. You'll need to consider factors such as whether you want to distribute your estate equally or unequally among your beneficiaries.
- Select Your Executor
Your executor is a person you entrust to execute your will and manage your estate according to your wishes. You can choose one or more executors, and it's also possible for a beneficiary to serve as an executor. Another option is to designate a law firm as an independent executor to minimise the potential for conflicts and ensure proper administration of your estate.
- Appoint an Alternate Executor
To ensure that your estate is properly managed in case your preferred executor is unable or unwilling to serve, it's recommended to name an alternate executor or executors. This ensures that your wishes are still carried out and prevents any issues that may arise from not having a designated executor.
- Choose a Guardian for Your Children
If you have children, you will need to consider who you would like to nominate as your preferred guardian until they turn 18. This should be someone who would be happy to raise your children in the way you would like them to be raised. If one parent dies, the other parent assumes responsibility automatically, but it is advisable to nominate a third party in the instance you both pass away at the same time.
- Make a List of any Assets & Liabilities You Have & What You Want To Happen To Them
Your will should outline how you would like your assets to be distributed after you pass away. This includes any property, cash, investments, and personal belongings. You may choose to divide your assets equally among your beneficiaries or to distribute them in specific proportions. It is also essential to consider any debts or liabilities that may need to be paid off from your estate.
- Outline Your Funeral Wishes
Your will can also outline your funeral wishes, including whether you would like to be buried or cremated, and any specific arrangements you would like to be made. It is important to discuss your funeral wishes with your loved ones and ensure that they are aware of your wishes.
Tip 4: Review and Update Your Will Regularly
After drafting your will, it is crucial to review and update it regularly to ensure that it continues to reflect your wishes. Life is dynamic, and you may make or experience changes that affect decisions about your will such as getting married, divorced, having children, or acquiring or disposing of assets. These circumstances can impact your will, so it is vital to review and update it accordingly.
Tip 5: Safely Store Your Will
To ensure your will is accessible to your executor when needed, it is crucial to store it in a secure location. You can consider keeping your will in a fireproof safe, a safety deposit box at your bank, or with your lawyer. Additionally, providing a trusted family member, friend or your executor with a copy of your will may also be a good idea.
Ready To Get Started on Your Will Planning?
Discussing will and estate planning with your loved ones can be challenging, but it's a critical step in ensuring that your assets go to the people or organisations you intend. By following the tips we've outlined in this blog post, you can make the process more comfortable and more inclusive. Remember to choose an appropriate time and place, involve your loved ones in the planning process, and choose an experienced estate planning lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of will planning.
At Pullos Lawyers, we provide a range of family law services including financial agreements, property settlement, wills and estate planning and more. Our experienced estate planning lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of will planning and ensure that your wishes are legally binding. Don't leave your estate planning until it's too late – contact Pullos Lawyers today to discuss your options.