Why a Will Isn’t Always So Easy to Write
Even the most simple of estates will need a thoroughly written will. Nothing causes strife more than a death in a family, and nothing causes conflict more than money. While you can’t control how people will feel at the time of your passing, you can help to reduce the likelihood of fighting and resentment.
Name the right executor. While you may be tempted to name your spouse as the executor, being the executor or executrix of a will can be a difficult job. If you wrote your will 15 years ago when you were 50, you and your spouse are now older and may not want to spend the energy required to carry out all the legal necessities. Adult children, friends, and lawyers are often more practical choices for the role.
If you have young children, you need to name their guardian. Again, this is tricky. While your sister may be the best aunt in the world, she may not be prepared to give up life in her studio apartment in Manhattan to care for your kids. You need to broach the subject carefully with those you choose and those you do not choose. Be prepared for people to say no. Don’t take rejection personally. As for those who are not going to be the guardians, they may be hurt, but it’s better to have a fight now and not a custody war later.
The distribution of assets is often the crux of your will. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you want. However, keep in mind, you can’t take it with you. Don’t try to over-control your assets from the grave.
Be specific about your funeral arrangements. Again, the death of a loved-one is a stressful time and old familial resentments can flare up when everyone gathers together. Even if you don’t care what happens to you, you need to specify in order to prevent your family from debating the issue. It’s also best if you can pre-pay for the expenses — especially burial. With funeral expenses exceeding $10,000, it’s not a simple matter. If you just want your ashes spread in the ocean, specify where and by whom.
Having a small estate does not mean you don’t need a will. Everyone needs a will. A good lawyer will help you craft a document that will make your passing easy for your family. A will is also the start to a proper estate plan that may include assigning power of attorney, creating a living will, and dictating a health care directive