Many people fall into the trap of thinking that wills are only for the wealthiest individuals. Other people falsely believe that because they are young, there is little to no reason to write a will. In reality, life is overwhelming and unpredictable. As easy as it is to assume that estate plans are for other people, it’s also important to understand that death will occur regardless of whether or not one would like to avoid it. If you fail to create an estate plan, there will be no designated individuals to receive your assets after you pass away. In these situations, New York law will dictate how your assets are divided as well as where your assets are transferred.
To make matters even more complex, only one in every three people in the United States is reported to have a will. This equates to only half of the people over the age of 55 having an estate plan. Any person, however, can benefit from having a will even if this makes things easier for survivors who have recently lost a loved one. It’s also important to remember that wills need not be complicated and that a person can write one without having to spend a substantial amount of money. This article reviews some important details to consider if you’re considering creating a will.
Consider Your Goals
The best place to begin deciding what your will should contain is to consider your values. You should also review your life and assess what matters most. Many people decide to focus on their spouse and children as well as what charitable goals are important to them.
Itemize Your Assets
After deciding on what matters to you, you should itemize all of the assets that you own. Make sure to list each asset, which can include things like retirement accounts and real estate. Your list of assets, as well as your liabilities, should be put together with contact information for any estate planning experts you utilize. This information should be stored in a safe area like a security deposit box where it can be accessed by your loved ones.
Decide Who Should Be Responsible for Your Estate
All wills require an executor or personal representative who will act as the individual in charge of carrying out the terms of your will. Select someone you can trust and who will help you to navigate matters fairly. The person that you have appointed to act as executor of your will or guardian of your children should verbally agree to such a relationship. You should never assume this individual will act in such a capacity.
You Can Create a Will in Several Ways
Retaining a lawyer to draft your will can greatly decrease the chances of an estate planning dispute. Attorney-drafted wills are a good consideration if you have a blended family or substantial assets. Attorney drafted wills, however, can cost several thousands of dollars. As a result, you might decide to create other types of wills like hand-written or online ones. If you use online estate planning tools, you should remain cautious of one-size-fits-all estate planning documents.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning is full of options, but an attorney can help you decide what choices work best for you. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.