Meet Matt and Mary Wilson.
Matt is a senior executive. Mary is a hospital volunteer. They have three kids, a house in the burbs, a condo at the beach and are saving for retirement. But like fifty-eight percent of adults in America, Matt and Mary do not have a will. They need one and here’s why.
A will is a legal document that defines who is going to take care of your children and outlines what to do with your assets when you’re gone. If you die without a will the state will decide who will inherit what you once owned. A will allows you, not the government, to control your assets after your death.
If you’re like the Wilson’s and need a will, here’s what’s involved:
When you do your will, do it right. Work with a lawyer to make sure your will is structured properly to be valid and enforceable.
If your children are minors, name a guardian for your kids. Your trustee will follow the instructions in your will on how you want your assets provided to your children and their guardian.
Make a list of all your assets and where they are. Determine the values of your real estate, insurance policies, investments, business ownerships, personal possessions and anything else that has economic or sentimental value to you or your family.
You decide who will receive these assets and when. Typically, your surviving spouse will be your primary beneficiary. You provide instructions on how and when to distribute assets to your children, grandchildren, and the charities of your choice.
You appoint an executor or trustee to oversee and carry out your instructions in your will.
You can grant the Power of Attorney to someone you trust to make healthcare and financial decisions if you are not able to make these decisions yourself. This Living Will provides a roadmap to your heirs and your doctors on how you wish your healthcare and end-of-life decisions to be managed.
There are so many reasons why wills are important. Work with your trusted advisor and an estate attorney to write your will. Then update it every three years to make sure it fits your present situation and conforms to current state laws. That way you know your family, your loved ones, and your assets are all protected.