Thursday, June 26, 2014

Six Things Everyone Forgets to Include in Their Will

Making a will is one of the most important things to do, but many people never bother to do so. A living will is a legal instrument designed to provide protection and support for those that will be negatively affected by your death. Even worse, those who have wills often forget some very basic considerations. Make sure your will includes provisions for these important aspects.

Review Your Will

A will is a living document and needs to be reviewed at least every other year for changes in the inheritance laws. Through the years, people become adults, they marry, have children, and become involved in schemes or business you may want to restrict. In short, everything changes and your will should change with it. In nothing else, updating your will shows that you are aware of its provisions and desire to continue with the exceptions of changes that you make.

Get Your Ducks All in a Row

Some items of personal property are not superseded by the will. This includes designated beneficiaries of life insurance, survivor’s benefits, and other items. For example, if you work life insurance lists your mother as the beneficiary she will get the proceeds even if your will says these should go to your wife and children. It is a good idea to simply re-designate beneficiaries every three to five years and to keep a list of who receives what with your will.

Owning Your Life Insurance

You might want to pay for the premiums on your life insurance, but designate the ownership to a trust or someone else besides you. The reason for this is while beneficiaries don’t pay income tax on these proceeds, if you own it, the payout will become part of your estate for tax purposes, regardless of what the will states. Don’t let the value of these items cost your family a bunch of estate taxes. 

Not Designating Personal Property in Your Will

Do you really want the people in your family fighting over your clothes, or a carefully preserved collection of baseball cards? It is far easier on everyone if you designate what you want to happen to your personal property, and this includes pets. If possible, provide several options in order of precedence. Let’s say you want your son Tom to take your cat. However, Tom can’t take your cat; his wife is allergic. So, include a couple of options so kitty doesn’t end up at the pound, or your collection in the trash.

Using an Online Kit to Do Your Will

Take the time to find a lawyer in Newmarket who is an expert in estate law to assist you with your will. If you can’t afford this now, a kit may be better than no will at all. But, as soon as you can, get that SBMB Law expert involved. They are worth the cost. Remember, each states has separate laws regarding inheritance, and of course, there are federal statues as well.

Leaving Bequests That Don’t Exist

If you leave bequests that cannot be realized by the value of your estate after the debts are paid, then decisions must be made. This could land your estate in probate, or other types of court as your heirs sue for their share. Don’t do this. Keep your debts and your bequests reasoned out and review them frequently. Remember, your funeral costs will come out of the estate as well.

As you can see, there are a great many details to include when looking at putting together a will. This is not a procedure that should be rushed, but attended to carefully by each of us.

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