When you talk to estate planners the first question they often ask is about your will. Do you have a will? Is your will up to date? Do you have the right provisions in your will? That last question may make you stop the estate planner in their tracks and ask about the actual provisions of a will. People hear all of the time how they have to have a will, but what can you really do with a will?
Take Care of Your Children After You are Gone
Your will allows you to express your wishes for the care of your children after you have passed away. This can be extremely critical if you have a child with special needs, or you have sole custody of your children after a divorce. This is also an important provision to consider for younger parents who could be unfortunately stricken with an unexpected accident or illness.
Another important element of a will is that you get to name a guardian for your minor children. Single parents carry a great deal of responsibility, and they can give themselves some peace of mind by outlining exactly who they want to take care of their children if something should happen to the parent while the children are still minors.
Start Your Own Charitable Foundation
A will is the best way for you to control what happens to your money when you pass away. If you have a particular cause you worked hard for when you were alive, then you could use part of your estate to start a charitable foundation in your name to continue your work. You can also use your will to leave money to your favorite charitable organization that already exists, or you can leave your money to a research group that is working on a cure for a disease that you feel strongly about.
Take Care of Your Business
The process of sifting through business affairs after the death of a partner can be a messy business that can take a long time to settle. Your stance on what should happen to your business after you pass away can be voiced explicitly and completely in your will for all to read. The probate courts will decide what ultimately happens to your business and your surviving partners may also take your estate to court to try and alter the business after your death, but at least your will stands as a strong statement on your wishes.
Determine Who Administers Your Final Wishes
Perhaps the most significant function of your will is to outline who you want to handle the administration of your final wishes. You can choose a person or group, or you can leave the responsibility up to your attorney. When you outline your estate administrator in your will, it becomes very difficult for anyone to challenge that administrator or make any changes that go against your will or the wishes of your administrator.
There are a lot of important bases you can cover in your estate planning with a good will. People often take the idea of a will for granted because most people do not want to plan for their own death. But it is important to know exactly what can be done with a will and how you can secure your children’s future by taking advantage of the benefits a will has to offer.