Are you, like Simon, travelling without the protection of a will? Simon had no clue how to divide up his estate. He was going on a trip to Dallas. He wanted to make a will before he left. Here are some will tips to help you and Simon.
Simon said, “I want to leave $25,000 to Billy and $25,000 to Sally. Will I have enough money in my estate to make my promises?”
Let me share this secret with you about what Simon should do.
No one knows for sure exactly what their estate will be worth. You should think of dividing your estate in terms of percentages or, better still, shares. This is a lot easier than figuring out “how much will I have left for each person?”
Leave 5% or, even better, five shares for Billy and five shares for Sally.
When you die without a will, the government distributes your estate.
If you do not have a will, you have no say in who gets what and who is in charge of your affairs.
Want to know what you must do to make a will?
Things You Must Decide
• Who will be in charge of your estate (executor).
• Who gets what (beneficiaries).
• Who your executor and beneficiaries will be in case the ones you name are not around (backups).
Technically, there is a fourth thing your will should do. If you have minor children, you need to name their custodians or guardians.
Lawyers Can Answer Questions
Your will is your most important estate planning tool. Don’t underestimate the legal skills required to prepare this document. It’s a job for professionals, not amateurs.
Wills protect assets from costly court cases and your loved ones from uncertainty and hardship.
Do-it-yourself will kits are not a good way to protect your family.
They may seem like a good idea at the time. But most homemade wills have flaws that people cannot see.
Even if mistakes do not make the will invalid, they usually cost the estate more in legal fees.
The Trick with Wills Is to Have One
People forget that wills are legal documents.
You may not fully understand the law when you make a will. You still must comply with all the formal legal requirements.
Families go to court to interpret, challenge and contest wills every day. Invest in a proper, lawyer-prepared will to avoid mistakes that could drive loved ones crazy with a court case.
You don’t have to be afraid of making a will. Learn more tips and tricks in About Wills: You Need to Review These Essential Tips.
Next let’s talk about how to find the right executor to handle your estate.
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Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of seven books. Visit his website, mrwills.com, for more free valuable information.
© Edward Olkovich 2012