A will is a legal document that maps out who you would like to inherit your assets after your death. However, if you have children, there is a lot more to be done with your will. If you pass away without a will, the state will decide what happens to your assets and property, as well as decide who will look after your children. Creating a will ensures that your best interests are kept in mind, for both your property and your family. Here are the top reasons every parent needs to have a will.
Appointing a guardian for your children.
While the state will try their best to appoint a fit guardian, usually a relative will be chosen. This may not be the person who you think is best, so it’s imperative to outline in your will exactly who you’d like to be the caregiver for your children. You’ll want to think about a lot of different factors on this decision; keep in mind, it may not be so easy.
Consider who would be able to not only give the best emotional and financial support for your child, but may also be the easiest transition — such as, how far away do they live? Do you want to keep your child in the same school district? And most importantly, do they share your personal, perhaps even religious, views and values when it comes to raising your children?
You will also want to have a backup, even if you think the person will say yes now, you must plan for the fact that they may say no at the time.
Nominate a trustee to manage your child’s trust fund/finances
Should you have funds you’d like to leave to your children, appointing a trustee of these accounts will allow for a person of your choosing to oversee how and when you give money to your kids. They will be able to manage how your funds are allocated and prioritize them, such as going towards education. You will also be able to choose at what age your children will get your money, whether that be at 18 in increments or at 30 in a lump sum.
This person does not have to be the same person as the guardian of your child, as one person may be better at emotional support, while another may be better at financial management.
Decide who gets what.
While there are some things such as liquid cash that seems easy to split, there are a lot of other assets that may be difficult, such as jewelry, furniture, cars, or even sentimental items such as valuable collections. It must be stated in your will who gets what, even if you don’t want them to get anything. If you are divorced, this is also especially important as most things will just be split between your ex-spouse and children.
Contact an experienced Charlottesville estate planning attorney to help you.
You’ll want to consult a lawyer to help you navigate through creating your will and settling your estate. There are many variables you may not have considered, so it’s always best to meet with your attorney to assist you through the process.
Contact Martin Wren, P.C. at 434-817-3100 for a free consultation or by filling out a quick contact form here to review your options and set up the best estate plan for you and your family.