You’ve done it. You’ve made the decision to make a Will, and you’ve booked an initial appointment with your lawyer. The hard part is over. So now what? Preparing your Will does not need to be a difficult task. By taking the time to plan now, you will save your family and friends the headache of dealing with your assets after your death. Before heading in to meet with your lawyer, take some time to consider the following:
Make a list of the assets you own. This includes properties, bank accounts, investment portfolios, insurance policies, and any other assets in your name. Keep in mind you will also need to consider how you own this property, namely whether it is jointly with others, or in your name alone.
Decide your executor(s). This will be who you would like to handle the estate, and should be someone you trust to control your assets, take care of your property and honour your requests. Spouses, family members or close friends are often obvious choices. In some more complicated cases, you may choose to appoint a professional or trust company. Whatever the case, it is important to remember that being an executor of an estate is a big role. You must be careful when considering who to appoint, and once you have decided, to be sure they are willing to take on the role. It is also important to consider an alternate executor, who will step in if your first choice is unable to carry out the role.
Decide your beneficiaries. Through your Will, you will be able to lay out exactly who will inherit what from your estate. This can be family, friends or individuals, as well as charities or non-profit organizations. Be sure to also consider alternate beneficiaries, who will inherit the assets should your first choices be unable to.
Appoint a Guardian. If you have children under the age of 18, you will need to consider who to appoint as the guardian, in the event that neither parent is available. This important decision can save your family and friends from a long and complicated process in the courts, and provide your child(ren) with a smoother transition in accordance with your wishes. As with the executor, you should be sure the person you appoint is willing to take on the role.
By thinking through these main factors in advance and coming prepared, we can tailor your Will to your particular needs and desires. We will be happy to discuss the details and logistics of each part with you, and work with you to determine your best possible estate plan. Contact one of our lawyers today, and we can help eliminate the Common Mistakes in Will Drafting with proper consultation and execution.