Will planning, trust planning and estate planning is not just for older people. It's for anyone that wants to avoid heartache for those they love. It's simply a asset of instructions to distribute property to those who you want to have your property.
If you have a will your property will go to those you want to have it and there is no other way for you to have this assurance because the State will determine who gets your assets if you don't have a will. Additionally, by planning your will, friction and arguments will be lessened among beneficiaries. Without your instructions, how will they know who gets what? Moreover, the potential for large legal fees and court costs can be minimized because you avoid litigation among family members. And of course, with proper will planning, The estate will be settled more promptly. A good retirement planning calculator will help you estimate the size of your estate to be planned.
The major aspects of the planning are
1. To decide who you want to name as beneficiaries (both primary and contingent)
2. What you want each beneficiary to receive
3. You can name an executor/executrix to manage the distribution of your assets
4. If you have children, can name a guardian to care
5. Make an charitable bequests
Some people avoid will estate planning because of superstition—that if they plan the distribution of their assets they will die. You will be comforted to know that there is no research or statistics to support this. In fact, there's a statistics floating around that 75% of attorneys die without a will. That would support the case that people without a will are more likely to die! So plan and prepare your will now!
Don't delay estate planning because there are things you cannot decide. For example, if you are torn about which beneficiaries to indicate or what to leave them, just have a will made anyway with your 'best guess.' You can always change it later. And since you can use will planning and preparation software, you can change your mind as often as you desire without cost. Or you may be undecided about charitable beneficiaries. Again, you can change, add or delete charities at any time to your will.
Below find the information you need. If you don't want to prepare your own will, it's a relatively inexpensive attorney's fee to have it done.
- Names and address of each beneficiary. If a relative, state relationship.
- If any of your beneficiaries were to predecease you, name the contingent beneficiary (next in line)
- List specific bequests to be made to each of those persons listed above. Describe the gift, the amount of money or percentage of the estate to each recipient. It's best to use percentages.
- Names and addresses of charities for charitable requests and amount (again, best if a percent of your estate)
- If minor children are living at the time of making a will, you should name a guardian for their care.
- Appoint your executrix/executor. Husband and wife often name each other. Specify if they will serve without being bonded in administering your estate. Again an alternate should be named.