Your Last Will & Testament is a document that sets forth your last wishes regarding your property for after you pass away. Some possible beneficiaries under your Will are your:
- Other close relatives or friends
- Favorite charities, churches, or other non-profit organizations
The Will not only states who you want to receive your property or assets when you die, it also can contain instructions for how they will receive it. If you have minor children, you will likely want someone to manage and invest their inheritance if they are still minors when you die. If you have an adult child who receives government assistance or who is prone to financial mismanagement, you may want to consider including special provisions for a lifetime trust for that child’s inheritance.
In your Will, you will need to name an Executor. The Executor is responsible for executing the terms of the Will, ensuring that your final tax obligations are taken care of, that your final debts are paid, and that all legal obligations are met. Spouses are usually, but not always, a good choice to be your Executor.
If your Will is properly prepared, you can:
- Minimize the administrative and emotional burden on your Executor
- Ensure your estate passes to your beneficiaries in the time and manner you decide
- Appoint a guardian and backup guardian for minor children
- Protect your beneficiaries’ inheritance from divorce, waste, mismanagement, or bankruptcy
- Keep the family peace after your death (or at least make a good effort)