You should always decide what you want to happen to your estate after you’re no longer around—that’s why you need a last will. While most people have considered writing their wills, they may often run into trouble in court or among their executors, as well as their heirs. How should you put it together and what should you avoid?
What You Should Not Do In A Will
There are numerous issues that may come whenever you’re putting your will together. If you want to manage your assets in favor of your loved ones, then it’s best to know what you should avoid when writing your will.
Assuming The Will Is Going To Skip Probate
Having a last will does not help you avoid probate. Last will always involve probates—two, as a matter of fact: one during your life and one after your death. Simply having a will involves court orders in life where you’ll need to spend a considerable sum of up to $50,000.
After death, you will need to spend about $20,000 for the second probate for your will which has a timeline of 12 to 18 months. So, if all you have is a will, then you will need to go through probate proceedings, where you’ll spend more time and funds.
Naming Two Co-Executors
While it may sound convenient in some cases to have two co-executors of your will, it may not be the best way to go about planning your estate. Having two people in charge of carrying out your will involves potential disputes between the two executors. There could be disagreements on how they should carry out your last will.
Also, each one is legally responsible for the other’s actions. There are a few cases where naming multiple executors such as having different skill sets and a potentially fair distribution of the estate. Generally, though, you should avoid it since it’s more expensive and is more of a hassle.
Being Overly Specific
Even though it’s a good idea to list down everything in your estate that you want your executors to distribute, you don’t need to be too specific. You don’t have to list down every item in your house and what to do with them, for instance.
Don’t agonize over who gets to keep the dryer or who should be taking care of your stamp collection. Just focus on the important things in your estate to save you and your heirs the inconvenience.
Trusting Your Executors To Do Everything That You Want
That said, even if you don’t specify what to do with every single thing in your house, you don’t want your executor to do everything that you want without stating them in your trust.
If you want to distribute assets or ask your heirs to take care of someone, be sure to include those in the legal document. If you don’t, you’re essentially saying otherwise. This may lead to future disputes where the heirs could end up blaming the executor.
What You Should Do Instead
Keeping all that in mind, there are a few ways that you can work on your will correctly to prevent future headaches. Consider these steps to protect your legacy when you’re no longer around.
Having A Trust And Doing It Correctly
Simply having a last will won’t be enough—it’s a good idea to have a living trust. A trust allows you to transfer your assets into it and have a trustee oversee them. Trusts don’t have to go through probate court, making them the better option when you want to save time and money.
Trust proceedings are also quicker if you want your heirs to receive their assets fast. They are also private records, which is important if you value your heirs’ privacy. It’s a better idea to have a living trust go with your last will
Naming Only One Person In Charge
While you can have multiple trustees and executors, it’s better to stick to one for a few reasons. First is that this will save a lot of time to make decisions in the best interests of heirs. Having one trustee in charge is quicker, less expensive, and better for avoiding disputes and disagreements.
Make sure you find someone competent enough to carry out what you want and distribute your assets to your heirs as needed.
Leaving Room For Flexibility
Your trustee should be flexible enough to make decisions on their own for when the need arises and the unprecedented happens. Your trustee should be able to handle circumstances when they occur when you’re no longer around. They should also know how to decide on your behalf in the best interests of your heirs.
Remember that you can’t account for everything that happens when you’re no longer around. Having a competent trustee make decisions during unexpected events will save your heirs from potential setbacks.
Saying Everything You Want Your Trustee To Do
When it comes to pressing affairs about your estate, you should include all of them in your trust so that your trustee can carry them out. You don’t want them to make decisions on your behalf when it comes to matters such as which heir gets funds and which one takes care of the house, among others.
It’s best to not have disagreements among your heirs, and you certainly don’t want them to blame your trustee. Make sure that you put everything you want in a legally-binding document.
Seek An Experienced Wills & Trust Attorney
Having a last will may not be enough. On the other hand, getting a living trust may mean venturing into the unfamiliar territory since it requires more maintenance. Be sure to seek assistance from wills and trust attorney who can help you with probates and proceedings. This way, you can easily take care of your heirs and cement your legacy.
Keystone Law Firm assists you with wills, trusts, and other legal documents to help carry out your wishes when you’re no longer there. Your estate is your treasure, and Keystone Law Firm helps you with arrangements and proceedings to cement your legacy and protect your heirs.
Don’t assume that it’s going to help you skip court proceedings. Also, it’s better to have only one executor or trustee to avoid potential disputes. Focus only on the important things to include in your will and make sure that your trustee is flexible enough to make decisions in the interest of your heirs. Even then, with more important matters, it’s important to legally document what you want your trustee to do when it comes to how you want your heirs to benefit from your estate.