7 Tips for Making a Will That Benefits Your Children

Did you know 60% of American adults do not have a will? That seems like a significant oversight for a document of such magnitude.

It is the one document that can prevent your estate from falling apart after you pass.

When making a will, there are a few key components to keep in mind. Here are seven tips that will benefit your children. 

Name Your Spouse as Guardian

Sure, this sounds like common sense. If one spouse dies, the other spouse will remain the guardian of the children. However, believe it or not, there have been cases where, when one spouse dies, an outside party makes a play for custody of the children. When this happens, it is up to a judge to decide where the children shall remain.

Name an Alternate Guardian

If the worst case scenario, both parents should die, or you do not have a spouse, you will want to have an alternate guardian in place. Who in your life is well-positioned to care for the children, provide for them, and love them? Think about that and put it down in writing.

Designate a Trustee

After the children’s future guardian is secured, it is time to consider the property. Name a trustee to manage your estate until the children become of legal age.

This person will have full control over the money, real estate, and any assets. So, make sure you trust this person beyond a shadow of a doubt. 

We often see the guardian go on also to become the trustee. But, this is not a hard and fast rule. You will want someone who is fiscally responsible and supremely trustworthy.

Pay Your Trustee

The person you select to guard your property will spend a lot of time and resources handling the estate’s affairs. As such, it might be nice to compensate them for all their efforts. 

This does not have to come in the form of assets through the will. Instead, you can set aside an amount to compensate them.

Each state has a set of provisions in their probate codes, indicating how much a guardian can be paid. Your attorney can guide you on local law. 

Consider a Family Trust

Before you dive into probate law, ask your attorney about a family trust. In some cases, a trust can help your loved ones avoid probate and even save money when it comes to inheritance taxes. Of course, this will depend largely on your unique situation. 

Consider Conditional Gifts

In your will, you can include gifts that come with a prerequisite. This will allow you to rest assured that some of your wishes are being granted before your children inherit the estate. For example, you can condition a gift after the children reach a certain age or graduate college. 

Appraise Your Property

While specific property values fluctuate i.e., homes and cars, you can have other items appraised. Perhaps you have certain antiques or heirlooms. Including these amounts in your court documents allows you to be as specific as possible. 

Making a Will for Your Children

Sure, it is hard to consider a world where you do not exist. But, you can do so much to tie up loose ends and make sure everyone is provided for even after you are gone.

Making a will is not the most straightforward task but, here at Indigo, we put the family back in family law. Contact us today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Fledgling Filers: When Is it Too Soon to Write a Will?

Over half of Americans do not have basic estate documents like a will, trust, or powers of attorney.  Are you one of them?

You may think that you are too young to write a will, but an unforeseen accident can leave your family heartbroken and struggling.

To prevent your assets winding up in probate, it is crucial to start drafting your will asap.

We talk about which life changes impact your will and whether you need to write one now.

Life Events That Impact Your Will

There are certain events in your life that affect your finances and your assets. If you have gone through any of these significant changes you should write or update your will.

  • Getting married
  • Having children
  • Purchasing a home
  • Buying a car, boat, RV, etc.
  • Starting a business

You should update or review your will every five years. This makes sure that your assets wind up where you want them after your death.

Think You Are Too Young?

In South Carolina, you can create a will once you turn eighteen and are no longer a minor. While no one wants to think about dying, it is better to prepare for anything that life brings. Unexpected accidents happen to people of all ages.

Do not be unprepared. Dying without a will means you have no control over who inherits your assets. 

* It’s especially important to have a will if you have children.

Other than the points mentioned above, there are a few more factors that necessitate writing a will.

If You Have an Inheritance or Business Assets

Even if you have your inheritance in a trust, you should include it in your will.

If you have recently started a business within the last few years, include those assets in your will. Be sure to state any business succession plan you may have. Also remember to think about royalties, copyrights, and patents.

You Have Pets

If you have a pet that you want to be well taken care of after you pass, you should include them in your will. Remembering them when writing your will ensures they are cared for if anything happens.

You Have a Family History of Mental Illness

A testator (the person writing the will) must be of sound mind. Certain illnesses may affect your ability to make important life choices. For this reason, it is a good idea to write your will while you are young.

How to Write a Will

Wondering how to write your will? You can do it yourself with a template, but you need two disinterested signatories without anything to gain from your will to sign as well.

You can also speak with a lawyer to discuss your estate plan rather than do it yourself. Getting the assistance of an estate planning attorney might be easier since you can be sure that the document is legally binding.

Make a list of all your assets and beneficiaries beforehand so you do not forget anything. Remember, you can always edit your will. In fact, you should do this every few years or after any major life change.

Write a Will Now to Avoid Problems Later

As long as you are over eighteen, you are never too young to write a will. Writing one now will protect your assets and your family after your death.

No one likes to think about dying, but having a will means you are prepared for the future. It assures your possessions do not go into court and makes sure no one argues over who gets what.

Are you ready to talk about writing your will? Contact us to schedule a consultation today.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.