Monday, September 28, 2009

What goes into a will

By: Jessie Bruyn

Every person is different and carries different values during their life, so therefore there is no set formula for a will per say. However, there are certain topics that should be included and touched upon in the creation of every will.

The first, and arguably the most important, are the funeral expenses and payments of any pre-death debts. Money should be allocated for both of these things by the creator of the will. If debts exceed assets, state law will prescribe the order in which debts are paid. You also have the opportunity to forgive debts owed to you in your will. The biggest advice given by lawyers in creating wills is to think of all the "what ifs".

The next category in creating a will is the gifts of personal property. This is where you can give assets to specified individuals (family, friends, or charitable donations). If you have several children or want to distribute certain assets evenly you give the property to "the class" this would include all the people (for example all children) and the assets would be divided evenly.

If you have custody or rights over individuals, for example your children. Detailed instructions of who the care goes to in the event of each possible circumstance are provided. You must also include special instructions for the gift and inheritance of minors (for example to wait until a certain age and how much is allocated to the specified caregiver and what for). Most importantly, make sure the will is signed and dated and kept in a safe place.

The writing of a will is very complicated and should be done with assistance of a lawyer and in conjoint with your spouse if assets are shared. It should not be taken lightly and should be updated frequently in the best interest of you and your loved ones.

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