Every adult should have at least a basic estate plan in place. For most people, estate planning begins with creating and executing a Last Will and Testament. The best way to ensure that your Will accurately reflects your wishes and can withstand any challenges that might be raised during the probate process is to work closely with an experienced estate planning attorney. To prepare you for your consultation with an attorney, a Murfreesboro Will attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby discusses some things to think about when creating a Will.
Last Will and Testament Basics
Before you start thinking about creating your Will, it helps to understand some Will basics. A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that allows the Testator (the person executing the document) to make gifts of estate assets that will be fulfilled at the time of the Testator’s death. You can distribute all, or just some, of your estate using a Will. A Will is considered a public record once it is submitted to probate after your death. Therefore, anyone may view the provisions of your Will. Probate is the legal process that follows your death and is used to ensure that your estate assets are identified, located, and eventually transferred to the intended beneficiaries and/or heirs of your estate.
What Should I Think about When Creating My Will?
- Assets and liabilities. You probably have a rough idea of what your net worth is; however, when it comes to creating a Will, you need to know exactly what you own and what you owe. Making detailed lists, and keeping them with your Will, also makes the probate of your estate much easier when the time comes.
- Beneficiaries. This one may be obvious and not require much thought; however, there are some beneficiaries that people commonly do not think about on their own. Charities, for example, such as your church, may be included. Your family pet is another one that you may not have considered.
- Your Executor. Do not make the common mistake of filling in the name of your spouse as the Executor of your estate without considering if he/she is the best choice. The Executor of your Will fulfills an important role in the probate of your estate that includes numerous, and varied, duties and responsibilities. Ideally, your Executor will have a legal and/or financial background. Appointing the wrong person to be your Executor can cause a delay in the probate of your estate and/or increased costs related to the probate process.
- A Guardian. One mistake people frequently make is failing to nominate a Guardian for minor children in their Will. This common omission usually occurs because people don’t know that naming a Guardian is an option. In fact, your Will is the only opportunity you have to let a judge know whom you would want to take over the care of your minor child(ren) if a Guardian is ever needed. Even if you have yet to have a child, it is still a good idea to include a Guardian in your Will if there is a possibility you will become a parent in the future.
- Choosing an estate planning attorney. Resist the temptation to use a DIY Will form you found on the internet. The time and money you think you will save will be meaningless to your loved ones when they are forced to spend time and money litigating your Will because of the mistakes and/or omissions in the DIY form you used.
Contact a Murfreesboro Will Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding what to think about when creating your Last Will and Testament, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro Will attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.
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