Estate Planning

When Should I Prepare My Will?

Create a Will to Secure Your Family's Future

The last thing most of us want to think about is a will. But when it comes to your family's future, a will can provide for their financial well-being. A will can even determine who will care for your children should something happen to you and your spouse.

Who Needs a Will?

Without a will, any assets you have at the time of your death could end up in probate court. So not only will your family be in mourning, they will also be tied up in legal wrangling to ensure that your home, investments, and personal property are given to your loved ones. There is no need to worry, however, if you have not yet created a will. There is still time because, regardless of your age, it is never too late to create a will.

What Goes in a Will?

There are three main areas that are included in most wills. First, consider creating a list of your assets. For instance, do you own a home or any other property? Do you have investments, such as stocks? A will explains who gets these things when you are gone.

Second, think about whom you would like to put in charge of making sure that your wishes are carried out. This person is known as an executor. Depending on your assets, he or she may have a big job ahead of him or her, so choose wisely. You may also want to consider asking the person you pick if he or she is willing to undertake the tasks required of an executor.

Finally, if you have children, you need to think about whom you want to appoint as their guardian. It is scary to think about not being there to raise your kids, but you might gain some peace of mind knowing a person you choose will care for them.

Final Steps

Once you have made the tough decisions about your home, assets and children, you need to tie up all the loose ends. Your will needs to be signed, witnessed and notarized. It is a good idea to keep a duplicate copy in your own files. You may want to consider looking over your will every few years and making any necessary updates. Even if your life doesn't significantly change, the laws where you live might.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.