While writing a will make sound macabre, it is important to settle your affairs should anything untoward happen to you. A will is a document that determines how your assets and property shall be divided among your next of kin, and will prevent in-fighting among your family due to sibling rivalry and jealousy. Dying intestate, or without leaving a will, will leave your family squabbling, and most of your wealth will go to litigators and the tax collector.
Here are tips in writing a will if you are married with children:
- Consult a legal specialist. A lawyer can know the particulars of inheritance laws in your region and can help you avoid the pitfalls in making and enforcing a will, as well as reduce your tax obligations after your death. Ask your colleagues to recommend a lawyer or look for one online. You can use a website to draft your own will, but hiring a lawyer gives you the best chance to make a fool-proof will that will be hard to challenge in court.
- Plan for the distribution of particular items. A family heirloom, prized jewelry and works of art cannot easily be divided among inheritors, so you have to decide which individual shall receive it after you die.
- Set up a trust fund for under aged family members. Minor are not yet of legal age and so their inheritance must be protected by a trust. Invalids and elderly relatives can also be provided for by leaving a trust, which can pay for their hospital or nursing home fees. Make sure the members of the board of trustees are worthy of your trust.
- Decide on special cases. Perhaps you would like to leave something for your favorite charity, or you have stepchildren or illegitimate offspring. A will can make sure your wishes are carried out.
- Select an executor. An executor is an individual with the legal right to enforce your wishes and organize your estate upon your passing. Close friends and relatives can act as executors, but as the role carries a heavy responsibility, they have a right to refuse your request.
- Consider a living will. This legal document is a list of instructions to take effect should in individual be rendered incapable of communicating, such as a coma or dementia. A living will can cover the removal of life support, or leaving the decisions to a particular next of kin.
- Make provisions for revisions in the coming years. Don’t expect the first will you draft will be your final will. Your assets may change, as well as your mind, your marital status, your area of residence, and other factors that may invalidate your previous will. Furthermore, your wife and children may displease you in the future, and you are required to reduce their inheritance for their own well-being.
Don’t wait until you are near death to write a will. When you have a business and a sizeable fortune, writing a will should be included in your list of things to do. A will can also cover your funeral arrangements, such as the decision for cremation. After drafting your will, make several copies and store it in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box in a bank.