A will is the most basic of estate planning documents, but it also plays a crucial role in assisting with passing on your property after you pass away and to ensure that those assets will be transferred according to your wishes.
There are four primary things you need to keep in mind as you put together your will. First of all, understand that your estate may still be subject to probate. The probate process ensures an orderly transfer of your assets and the payments of your debts. Some assets may be eligible to pass outside of probate and you can discuss this more with your estate planning attorney.
Naming an executor is the second important component of putting together a will. You might choose a friend or family member to play this role, but you can also select a professional trustee such as someone at your bank. Furthermore, your will should be used to name a guardian for your minor children, if any exist. This allows you to name a guardian who will assume responsibility for your children until they reach the age of maturity. A successor guardian should also be named in the event that the first person you choose is unable or unwilling to act.
Finally, the fourth most important thing to keep in mind as you put together a will is to keep the original will in a secure location. Your bank safe deposit box is the primary location for your will, but you should also keep a copy at your attorney’s office to make things easier should something happen to you.