What Should be in Your Will

Deciding to prepare a will is a responsible and prudent thing to do.  By setting out where you want your assets to go and how your estate should be distributed you are taking an important step which ensures that your final wishes will be honored.  To make sure your will is effective, it is also vital that you include certain key provisions.  Here are some essential terms which should be in your will:

Guardianship and Conservatorship

If you are a parent or guardian of a minor child, it is critical that you include your guardianship and conservatorship preferences in your will.   Your child’s guardian will be the person who will be legally responsible for their care and upbringing should anything happen to you.  Their conservator, who is often the same person as their guardian, will be responsible for safeguarding any assets they inherit.  The first place a family court will look to decide who should fill these vital roles is your will.  If you do not name anyone, the court will be in the position of making that decision for your children.  For a court, finding and appointing a s uitable guardian and conservator can be a lengthy process. By having namedindividuals in your will can help ensure that your children have the stabilityof your preferred caregiver during a difficult time.

Personal Representative

When you draft your will, you will be able to designate someone to act as your personal representative.  This individual will be the person who is responsible for filing your will with the probate court in a timely manner, accessing all of your assets and debts, conducting an inventory or your estate, reporting to the court, and helping to ensure your beneficiaries receive their inheritances. Clearly, your personal representative will have several important responsibilities concerning your estate.  Therefore, it is important to carefully consider whom you trust to serve in this role and becertain this individual is named in your will.

Accurate Description and Directions

When devising a will, it is essential that you accurately describe your assets and provide clear directions regarding where they are supposed to go.  Vague references to property and beneficiaries may later be challenged in probate court.  For instance, if you have two homes and two children whom you wish to inherit the property, you will need to specify which asset goes to which child or if they are to inherit the properties jointly.

The best place to start preparing a will is with the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney.  Your counsel can help you consider your estate and advice you about how to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones. We have experience assisting clients with their wills and can help.  Please contact us online if we can help.

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