Thy WILL Be Done (Right)
10 Bullet Points to Protect Your Loved Ones
1. Name the Right Executor - Choose the right person to carry out your wishes. Options include spouse, family members, friends, financial institutions.
2. Name the Right Trustee - The trustee manages property not left outright to beneficiaries. The "trust" part is there for a reason! May be the same person or different from the Executor.
3. Name a Guardian for Any Minor Children - The Guardian raises the minor children if both parents are gone. May be the same or different from the Executor or Trustee.
4. Clearly State Who Gets What and How They Will Get It - Spouse, family, friends or charities? Outright or in trust? Special needs? Tax or control issues? Restrictions, incentives?
5. Coordinate Non-Probate Property - Joint Accounts, retirement plans, insurance, jointly-owned property, etc., are outside your will, but must fit with the plan of your will (see my post on “What is Probate?”).
6. Must Be Signed and Witnessed Properly - Strict formalities must be followed or your will is null and void (see my post on “It’s on the Internet - What Could Possibly go Wrong?”).
7. Have a Self-Proving Affidavit - Keeps Executor from having to track down witnesses years later.
8. Empower your Executors and Trustees - Pick the right people, then grant them the powers to do their jobs without undue delay and expense. In most cases, you can waive requirements for inventories and court supervised returns that eat up time and money.
9. Keep it Where It Will be Found – Keep your original will and other important papers in a safe place and let your Executor know where it is. Hide and seek is not a good use of the Executor's time!
10. Review and Update Regularly - Your life changes, and so should your Will. No plan is right forever. Review at least every few years or if big changes happen in your life.
These bullet points raise crucial issues but only scratch the surface. An experienced estate attorney can help you make the right decisions. I have helped protect loved ones and families for nearly 20 years. Call me, John O. "Jack" Moore, at (770) 277-7767 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.