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NC and SC Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What to Include in Your Will

A will is a legal tool that allows you to provide directions as to how you want your personal assets distributed when you die. This is what many people think of when a will comes to mind, but it can do so much more. There are several other provisions you can include in a will that can be extremely beneficial to your estate and your loved ones.

What to Include in Your Will

Yes, your will should include what wills are best known for and that is naming beneficiaries who should get specific pieces of property. These specific gifts are called bequests. You can gift cash, personal property, real property, and other assets to family members, charities, or anyone you wish. You also should consider naming alternate beneficiaries in the event that you outlive your named beneficiaries. You may opt to name a spouse or child of the original beneficiary as the alternate beneficiary. Additionally, you may want to consider naming someone to take all of the property that remains after the specific bequests. This remaining property is commonly referred to as the “residuary estate.”

Your will should also name a personal representative for your estate. This person will have big responsibilities regarding overseeing your estate during the probate process. The personal representative will see to it that the terms of your will are properly carried out and that all assets are distributed as directed. The personal representative has a number of very important duties and you should carefully consider who you select to be your personal representative. Choose someone who is, among other things, organized and trustworthy.

Your personal representative will be tasked with a laundry list of items, one of which includes paying debts and taxes of the estate. Your will can specify how you wish these things to be paid. You may have set up a specific bank account that should be designated as the funds to cover debts and other final expenses, such as funeral costs.

You may also want to consider including provisions providing specific instructions for caretaking of real property and pets. You can provide instructions for who should take care of real estate such as your house. You can also specify who should take over the care of any pets you may have. Be sure to talk to the person before you include such a provision in your will and make sure they are up for taking on the responsibility of caring for your pet. You may also specify if you wish to leave that person some amount of money to cover the costs associated with caring for the pet.

One of the most important things you can include in your will is a guardianship provision. If you are a parent with minor children, this is a critical thing to include in your will. You can name a guardian who will take care of your children after you pass. This is a big way you can make sure your children are continually cared for by someone you trust and someone who is up to the task and the enormous responsibility.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Wills and estate planning is, of course, about the distribution of your assets after you pass away, but it can and often should be about so much more. At Monk Law, we are here to provide our clients and their loved ones with the maximum benefits a will and other estate planning legal tools can provide. Contact us today.

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