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!