Writing a will is crucial to securing your legacy, ensuring the correct distribution of your property, and ensuring your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. To help you navigate this important process, here are some dos and don’ts of making a will to keep in mind.
Creating a will is a difficult yet significant undertaking. You’ll have to make some big decisions. Before you begin, keep these five things in mind to help ease the process.
1. Consider All Of Your Assets
You need to think beyond money. Whether vehicles, real estate, investments, or valuable personal belongings, making specific plans for all types of your property will help prevent any confusion or disputes among beneficiaries.
2. Appoint Powers of Attorney
Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal authorization that grants an individual the authority to make decisions on your behalf. There are two key types of POA that you should designate, financial and medical. You should choose people who you know are trustworthy and will act in your best interest, like close family members or friends.
3. Consider Marital Status
Whether you’re married, divorced, or single, it’s essential to take your marital status into account when creating a will. In some jurisdictions, marriage automatically revokes a previous will, so make sure to review and update your will accordingly. Similarly, if you go through a divorce, you may need to make revisions to ensure that your ex-spouse isn’t unintentionally included.
4. Keep it Updated
The work isn’t done once the will is created. You’ll need to update it to account for any significant life events or changes, such as changes in marriage or relationship status, births, deaths, acquisition of new assets, or meaningful changes in your financial situation.
5. Work With a Professional
While creating a will on your own is possible, working with an attorney or financial professional is best. They can guide you through the legal process, ensure your documents are properly drafted, and provide valuable advice tailored to your unique circumstances.
Since a will is such a vital tool, simple oversights or errors can have significant consequences. To help you confidently navigate the process, here are four “don’ts”’ to be aware of.
1. Don’t Forget About the Probate Process
After your death, the executor of your will is responsible for filing it with probate court to authenticate its validity. Different states have different rules and requirements about the process and its timing, so it’s best to consult with a progressional to understand its implications. In Ohio, the executor has three months from the date of their appointment.
2. Don’t Overlook Potential Conflicts of Interest
To minimize the potential for disputes, working with a third party is best. While you should still make your wishes known to your loved ones, an attorney can provide objective, professional guidance to address potential conflicts head-on while reflecting your true intentions.
3. Don’t Forget to Update Beneficiary Designations
Your will isn’t the only document governing your assets’ distribution. Some life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts allow you to designate beneficiaries directly. Keep these designations current to avoid inconsistencies and ensure they align with your wishes.
4. Don’t Neglect to Plan for Minor Children
If you have children under 18, make sure to address their guardianship by designating someone to become responsible for their care. You’ll need to discuss this choice with the designation beforehand to make sure they’re willing and suitable for the role.
Estate Planning Experts in Worthington, Ohio
Are you still overwhelmed by the complexities of the will creation process? Royal Oak Financial Group has a team of experts experienced in estate planning ready to assist you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can meet your needs.