Writing Your Will: Baby Steps to Get You Started

by Team Dinks on April 28, 2015 · 0 comments

writing your willWhen Bill had a heart attack last year, the first thing going through his mind wasn’t his roaster. It wasn’t the upcoming holiday. It was his 15 yr old son. The second thing running through his mind was his wife. What would they do without him? Like most people Bill didn’t have a will, mainly because he didn’t think he needed one. He was only 45. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. People as young as 30 have been known to have serious health problems. Are you prepared for the worst?

Name Your Beneficiaries and Heirs

One of the first things you need to do is decide what to put in the will and who will receive the proceeds. Beneficiaries are the people who will receive all of your stuff when you die, including money. Usually, beneficiaries are spouses or children – people who are very close to you and who are part of your immediate “downstream” family.

But, occasionally, they can be parents or siblings. Making parents beneficiaries does carry a risk, however, as parents tend not to outlive their children. Siblings, on the other hand, can be a rational choice, depending on how old they are.

Beneficiaries will receive property you own, like cars or homes, clothes, and antiques. They will also receive money from your pension and super, if applicable. Sometimes, you must name a beneficiary separately for property, as in the case of superannuation funds.

Appoint a Legal and Financial Guardian For Your Children

Do your children have a legal guardian? Most of the time, the answer to this question seems obvious. If you have children, and you’re married, then your spouse will be the guardian. But, what happens if something happens to your spouse? You don’t want to think about that, but it happens, and your child needs a protector until he or she reaches the age of majority.

Usually, you can name legal guardians that will take over in the event that one of them passes away. If you have any siblings or very close friends that are willing to take care of your children for you, ask them if they will be legal guardians. Confirm it, and then make it official in the will. Without putting it in the will, these guardians have no legal standing and cannot legally be responsible for your children.

Talk To A Lawyer

Always talk with a lawyer about creating your will. This is something that most people intuitively know that they should do, and yet it’s something that a lot of Australians try to do on their own. You will need to know what goes into a will – including any income and debts, savings, assets, and long-term liabilities – as well as how you want your affairs handled in tough emergency situations.

For example, if you’re put on a life-support machine, who do you want to make health care decisions for you? Do you want to live on life support, or would you rather someone make the call to shut down that support and let your pass away? How comfortable do you want to be if you’re unconscious or in pain? How do you want people to treat you, and what kinds of other medical decisions do you want others to make for you if you’re incapable of making them yourself.

Talk To A Life Insurance Agent

A life insurance agent can help you make the necessary financial decisions you need to make to fund your final wishes. For example, if you need money to pay any outstanding tax bill, or if you need money to retire debts so that your spouse isn’t left with them, or if you want to make sure that your spouse and child can live comfortably, financially, without you, you need life insurance.

Name a Residuary Beneficiary 

A residuary beneficiary is the person whom gets your assets if the primary beneficiary is incapacitated or predeceases you.

Name An Executor

Last, but not least, you need an executor. This is the person who oversees the distribution of your property, pays your final debts, and manages your property during probate. You should name an executor and an alternate executor.

Amelia Simons is a personal grief consultant. She likes to help people by posting information that will make their lives easier. Look for her informative and interesting posts on many websites and blogs today.

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