The answer to this question is of course a personal one. However, with the COVID 19 pandemic ongoing, a recent study has found that more young adults are considering this question. Despite the increased interest in Wills and Estate planning amongst young adults, the same study suggests that nearly 70% of adults still do not have a Will or other Estate Planning Documents. In fact, the number of adults over the age of 35 who have a Will or Estate Planning Documents has actually declined when compared to previous years.
The number one reason people cite for not having a Will is that they have not gotten around to it. However, a large percentage of individuals cite the cost and a lack of knowledge in how to begin the process of obtaining a Will and other Estate Planning Documents.
If you are reading this post, chances are you may fall within one of the latter two categories. As such, the purpose of this blog post is to provide you with general information to consider when preparing to have a will drafted.
Initial Considerations for my Will:
It may seem obvious, but first and foremost, you will want to consider your assets. This can include personal property, real estate, etc. Many people may believe they do not have sufficient assets to justify having a Will. However, your situation may change any given day, month, or year. For example, you may purchase a new home, get married, get that promotion or otherwise increase your assets and potential need for a Will in the near future. The point is, while you may feel you do not have reason to justify having a Will today, individual situations are always changing. With this, it is important to keep in mind who you want your assets to be distributed to in the event of your death.
These are the individuals to whom you will pass on your assets. These individuals should be named in your Will as specifically as possible. You may be married but have no children, and thus wish to leave all of your assets to your spouse. However, what if you plan on having children in the near future? What about any siblings or nieces and nephews you may have? Questions such as these are important to consider if having a lawyer draft your Will.
When having a lawyer prepare your Will, it is important to identify the individual you desire to act as Executor. The Executor is a temporary position and is responsible for administering the assets of the estate, as well as hiring an attorney to assist in admitting the Will to probate and satisfying any debts or taxes.
The Trustee is in charge of managing assets for the benefit of beneficiaries of any trust set up in your Will. For example, you may have children who you want to receive assets once they reach a certain age. Generally, the Trustee may have discretion over the investment of the assets held in trust and the distribution of the assets to the desired beneficiaries.
A Guardian may take custody of and look after the personal needs of your children in the event of your death. The Guardian and Trustee would work together to provide for your Children’s living expenses.
Other Estate Planning Documents:
While this is not an exhaustive list, there are a number of other considerations beyond a Will that you may want to consider when it comes to Estate Planning.
Durable General Power of Attorney:
This Power of Attorney should be considered for general and financial decision making. In other words, who do you wish to have the power to make your financial decisions should you be incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so? Many people may only consider their death when thinking of Estate Planning, but who will control your financial arrangements should you become unable to do so? With a Durable General Power of Attorney you can appoint the individual you trust to make these decisions during your unavailability or incapacity.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:
As the name suggests, this Power of Attorney would appoint an individual to make your healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become incapcitated or otherwise unable to do so. For example: Who will make your healthcare decisions should you be admitted to a hospital and are unable to do so yourself? With a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, you can make sure you appoint an individual you trust to make these decisions.
As mentioned, the above information is not intended as legal advice, but is intended to provide you with a general overview of certain considerations when thinking about having a Will and other Estate Planning Documents drafted on your behalf. In the internet age, there are numerous generic forms out there to be found online. However, given that every individual’s situation is unique, we strongly recommend you consult an attorney to prepare and/or review any Estate Planning Documents to ensure that your unique considerations are taken into account.
At Mockingbird Law Group, we seek to provide modern and affordable legal solutions to meet our clients’ needs. Should you wish to speak with one of our attorneys about your Estate Planning or other legal needs, please do not hesitate to contact us to set up a free consultation.