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What to include in your will

Just about every adult, no matter their age, should have a will and testament. In the event the unimaginable happens, you want your surviving loved ones to know exactly how you want your assets to be handled. Here is some information about what should and what shouldn't be included in your will and testament.

What to include in your will

Here is what you should include in your will to ensure the protection of the best interests of both you and your loved ones:

  • Guardianship - If you have children, you definitely want to name a guardian for your minor children. In general, children will go to the spouse or the closest relative if the parent dies without a will. In some situations, parents may not want a spouse or close relative to be the guardian of their children.
  • Assets - A will is the easiest way to leave your assets to heirs. The will and testament allows you to leave cars, bank accounts, money, and more to heirs. Another option you have is placing your assets in a living trust. After your death, the assets will be distributed.
  • Real property - You can also leave real property, such as homes and buildings, to your heirs in a will. As you can imagine, it is more difficult to transfer real property than assets to heirs. Therefore, you definitely want to ask for legal advice from a lawyer.

What not to include

Here is some information about what should not be included in your will to ensure your wishes are properly respected.

  • Funeral instructions - Don't depend on your will to inform your loved ones of your wishes when it comes to your funeral. In general, the will is read after the funeral. Therefore, you want to tell your loved ones about your preferred funeral arrangements or create a separate document containing the funeral instructions.
  • Certain types of property - There are some types of property that you cannot include when writing your will. Some examples of these types of property include joint tenancy property, stocks and bonds, property in a living trust, and life insurance proceeds with a beneficiary. These types of property have pre-determined rules that will come into play after you pass away.
  • Escaping estate taxes - Use a trust rather than a will to escape tax subjection.

An estate planning attorney can help you understand what to put in your will to protect your wishes and your loved ones. Considering contacting an attorney to start planning before it's too late.

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