Important Tips for An Accurate Will
Talking about death is never an easy topic. But understanding the importance of a will and an accurate one is critical.
Simply stated, a will is a document that’s also called a “last will and testament” that determines how a person’s property or estate will be distributed after death.
A will states a person’s final wishes and is typically read by a county court after your death. The court tries to ensure that person’s final wishes are actually carried out.
Jeff Gorton is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Financial Planner™ that specializes in individual tax and retirement planning. Jeff knows the importance of an accurate will and offers several tips to help you.
Only about 40 percent of adults in the U.S. actually have a will. The primary reason is likely due to people not wanting to be reminded of their own mortality and that life will go on without them, according to Gorton.
Jeff states, “But what’s the alternative? If you die without one, the state decides what becomes of your property, without regard to your priorities. Why not enjoy the fact that a will is an instrument of power? You get to decide who gets what.”
Gorton summarizes a basic will into four unique sections:
• Executors — Most wills begin by naming an executor, the person responsible for carrying out the wishes outlined in the will. Duties include assessing the value of the estate, gathering the assets, paying inheritance tax and other debts if necessary, and distributing assets among beneficiaries. It is recommended that you name at least two executors in case your first choice is unable to fulfill the obligation.
• Guardians — A will allows you to designate a guardian for your minor children. Whomever you appoint, you will want to make sure beforehand that the individual is able and willing to assume the responsibility. For many people, this is the most important part of a will since, if you die without naming a guardian, the court will decide who takes care of your children.
• Estate — Your estate encompasses everything you own, including real property, financial investments, cash and personal possessions. Once you have identified specific gifts you would like to distribute, you can apportion the rest of your estate
in equal shares among your heirs, or you can split it into percentages. For example, you may decide to give 45 percent each to two children and the remaining 10 percent to a sibling.
• Gifts — This section enables you to identify people or organizations to whom you wish to give gifts of money or specific possessions, such as family heirlooms or a car. You can also specify conditional gifts, such as a sum of money to a young daughter, but only when she reaches a certain age.
Although there is no legal requirement for a professional to write a will for you, he highly recommends getting certified help in preparing one. Jeff Gordon says, “After working a lifetime for your assets, you deserve to have them go where you want after you’re gone, and your family will be grateful to you for not leaving them with the headache of trying to sort out your estate.”
In addition, he also encourages his clients to create a written income plan (WIP), which is a living document that helps organize financial priorities.
If you are in the need of legal advice, please contact The Life of Luxury and we can help get you in touch with a certified law professional in your area.