Making a will is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones. By stating your wishes in writing, you can ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes after you die. Your beneficiaries will also have a clear understanding of your final wishes. When making your will, there are a few essential things to remember. First, you need to make sure that the document is legally binding. This means that it must be witnessed by two adults who are not related to you. You should also keep your will in a safe place, such as a locked drawer or fireproof safe.
In addition to these basic requirements, there are a few other things you should include in your will. Here is a quick checklist:
1. Your House and Any Other Real Estate You Own
When making your will, you must include any property you own, including your house and other real estates. If you don’t have this information in your will, the property will be distributed according to state law. This may not be what you want, so you must ensure that your will includes this information.
If you own a house, you should include the following information:
- The address of the property
- The name of the person who will inherit the property
- The name of the person who will manage the property until it is sold or transferred to the beneficiary
If you own any other real estate, you should include the same information as your house. This consists of any rental properties, vacation homes, or other properties you may own. Consider working with estate planning lawyers to get started. Lawyers can help you determine the best way to structure your will and ensure that all of your assets are properly included.
2. Any Savings or Investment Accounts You Have
Almost any working adult has some savings. This may be in the form of 401(k), IRA, bank account, or even cash that’s been squirrelled away. When making your will, you must include these savings accounts so that your beneficiaries know what they are and how to access them.
These accounts should be listed in your will, along with the following information:
- The name of the account
- The account number
- The name of the financial institution where the account is located
- The name of the beneficiary
Be sure to include all of the accounts you have. Even if you don’t think an account is worth much, it’s still important to include it in your will.
3. Your Personal Property
personal property, also known as “tangible property,” is anything that can be physically touched. This includes things like furniture, jewellery, cars, and art. When making your will, you should take inventory of your personal property and decide who will inherit each item.
It’s essential to be as specific as possible when listing your personal property. For example, instead of just listing “my jewellery,” you should list each piece of jewellery you want to leave to a specific person. You should also include the following information for each item:
- A detailed description of the item
- The name of the person who will inherit the item
- The name of the person who will manage the item until it is given to the beneficiary
4. Your Life Insurance Policy
A life insurance policy is a contract between you and an insurance company. The policy pays out a death benefit to your beneficiaries when you die.
When making your will, you need to specify who will receive the death benefit from your life insurance policy. The benefits will be paid out according to the terms of your policy, but you can specify how you want the money to be used. For example, you may want the money to pay off your mortgage or provide for your family. It all depends on your specific situation.
5. Any Retirement Accounts You Have (401(k) or IRA)
When you die, the money in your retirement account will be distributed according to your will. The money will be distributed according to state law if you don’t have a will. This may not be what you want, so you must ensure that your will includes this information.
Many employers offer the 401(k) retirement savings plan. The IRA is retirement savings account that you can open on your own. The money in these accounts is invested and can grow over time. When you die, your beneficiaries will receive the funds from the account.
6. Any Debts You Owe
Debts are a fact of life; unfortunately, they don’t go away when you die. If you don’t have a will, your debts will be distributed according to state law. This may not be what you want, so you must ensure that your will includes this information.
You should include the following information about your debts in your will:
- The name of the person who will inherit the debt
- The name of the person who will be responsible for paying off the debt
- The amount of the debt
Including your debts in your will can help ensure that your loved ones are not burdened with them after you die. You should specify who will be responsible for paying off the debt and include information on how the debt will be paid off.
7. Your Funeral Arrangements
Your funeral arrangements are an essential part of your will. If you don’t specify your wishes, your loved ones must decide for you. This can be difficult, so it’s essential to ensure that your will includes this information.
Include as much detail as possible in your funeral arrangements. This can include things like whether you want to be cremated or buried, what type of service you want, and who you want to speak to at your service.
Making a will is an integral part of estate planning. Including the correct information in your will can help ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you die. Remember that this is just a general overview of what to include in your will. You should consult an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure your will is valid and enforceable.