Estate Planning: Where to Draw the Line?
When writing your will, you have to find a balance between your specific wishes and the eventuality that your assets will change between the date you sign the will and the day you pass away. The biggest mistake in over-thinking your estate is procrastinating the final signature. It’s far better have an imperfect will than no will at all.
Generally, you won’t list too many specific numbers in your will. Perhaps you can include smaller sums of money for friends or charities. The majority of your cash assets (80%-90%) should be in percentages. For example, “40% of my liquid assets will go to each of my two children.” Large sums of money change over time, and in less than five years you could significantly more money that you had upon signing the will.
The major problem will undistributed funds is that it may have to go through probate court. And anything that goes through probate court will have to pay court fees. Your family could see thousands of dollars wasted in court fees that could be put to better use like an education fund.
Your estate planner can help you account for 99.9% of the assets in your estate. Although you might want to control how much money each beneficiary receives, you might do more harm than good. Generally your estate plan will include a catch-all phrase like, “Any undistributed funds will then go to my spouse.”