The subject of writing Online Wills and Trusts can be challenging for some people–because they involve two of the most taboo topics; money and death. However, having a legally-completed Will allows you to identify how and where your assets will be distributed when you die.
As well as knowing how to write a Will, it is important for you to know which assets should be included on it, as well as which could be left off.
Any existing well that you have should be updated as and when your beneficiaries alter. For example when your child reaches the age of 18, in the event of a divorce or marriage.
Here are six examples of assets that can be left in your Will, and who you may consider leaving them to.
- Your House, and Other Properties You May Own
If you are the owner of any kind of property, then your Will should make it clear who the property is going to be left to once you die. This is of particular importance if your main home is shared with a spouse, children, or other roommates.
You may also consider specifying exactly how the value of the home can be divided up among the people who currently live there if you choose not to leave it to only one particular person. It is important to consider that, if you are currently still paying for a mortgage on any of your properties, that there will be a way in which the assets and mortgage will be probably managed once you die. Another incredibly important consideration to make is if there will be enough life insurance to pay off the rest of the mortgage or even the monthly payments for a significant amount of time, or whether it is an affordable option for the people you’re leaving the property to based on their income.
If there is nobody you can think of that I will be able to necessarily afford the repayments, then you are able to suggest solutions as part of your will. Doing this will help to get rid of any confusion, anxiety, and debts that your loved ones may be feeling during that time.
However, if your property is owned by both yourself and another person such as your spouse, then with rights of survivorship, The property will be automatically passed on to the person as a result of your death. If that is the case then this doesn’t need to be included in your will. However, in the result of their deaths you will need to consider the steps above.
- Money For Any Outstanding Debts
Death does not, sadly, cancel out debts- it can, in fact, create further debts. In your Will, you should make it clear where the money will come from the cover debts that happen as a result of your death such as probate costs, medical expenses if you die as a result of serious illness, and the cost of your funeral.
There are ways in which you can pay for your own funeral in advance which will help to alleviate some of these costs and the stress associated with funeral planning for loved ones that are left behind.
However, if you cannot leave behind enough money in your estate, then your beneficiary of your retirement accounts may choose to pay for your funeral with money from your retirement and pensions accounts.
Debts don’t stop there, however. Secured loans will be passed down to the beneficiary who will inherit the security.
There is a chance that the assets you leave behind won’t equal the same amount needed to pay for your various debts. In that case, you should speak with an attorney who can advise you on how you can make sure that your loved ones won’t be burdened by your debts when you die and your estates are closed.
- Any Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds and Business Assets
If you are the owner of any stocks, bonds, or mutual funds that are outside of the protection of your 401(k) IRA or another of your retirement accounts, these can either be divided among your beneficiaries or individually allocated.
The same goes if you own either part or all of a company. Even if the business is fairly small without a huge number of assets, this will need to be addressed in your will. Companies themselves will create assets and value. Beneficiaries who will receive your interest in the business will need to be designated in order to avoid confusion and pathe the way to a smoother transition toward ownership.
It could be the case that you have a certain family member who is interested in taking over and continuing your business after your death. In which case you should consider leaving your business interest to that person in your Will. You may consider that you do not wish for your business to continue after your death, in which case you will need to indicate that you wish for the business to be dissolved and the assets liquidated. The proceeds should then be distributed among your heirs in equal measure.
You should check the formation documents of your business to see if there are any specific instructions for what happens when you die before you include your business interests in your will. These documents may likely specify that the business will be dissolved on your death or if your interest passes on to a specific person or partner.
It is not only physical cash that fits into this category–as it is uncommon for people to have large amounts of cash around. In the case of dealing with assets, cash also includes checking accounts, money market accounts or regular savings accounts. Some accounts will include a Payable on Death designee as this kind of account does not pass by the Will.
Check to see if you have assets without a designee and if that is the case this should be mentioned in your will as that will help your beneficiaries. Cash assets make it much easier for people left behind as they are readily accessible and can be used to pay for funeral expenses or debts.
5) Physical Possessions
Some items you possess may have a high or significant value, and you may have some things in mind for specific people–and not just to one single person.
When writing your Will you should consider which items you want to be left to which person. Not every item will hold significant monetary value, but the sentimental value will be more than any material item.
Take into consideration the things that people in your life may want to remember you by. For example, leaving your wedding and engagement rings to your children to pass on or keep to remember you by. If you have a family member who is sentimental about photographs you may want to leave them your collection of photographs from over the years.
6) Specify Who Will Take Care of Children and Pets
Perhaps the most important factor is if you have children who are considered minors at the time of your death. The same will go for your pets, too. Pets and children have a wild difference when it comes to the responsibilities needed to care for them, so whomever is going to be responsible for the care of them will need to be chosen carefully.
Make sure that the people you have chosen are aware that you have put them in your will, so keep them involved in the conversation surrounding your will before you complete your will. However, situations change–and people may no longer be able to take care of your children and/ or pets.