At Mundy Legal Services, we want to help create your Will to ensure your affairs are managed how you desire and your assets are distributed the way you want upon your death. If you have children who are minors, a Will is how you choose who will raise them (their guardian) and how your assets are used to benefit them.
What A Will Can Do:
A Will is a legal instrument which states how your estate is to be distributed at death. A valid Will avoids the problems which may arise from dying without a Will and allows a person to leave property to whom they desire. A Will can also designate the individual who will manage the estate (the “Executor”), name a guardian for minor or incapacitated heirs, and plan for payment of debts, estate taxes and death expenses. The Will lets your heirs know how you want your estate handled.
Selection of Executor
An executor is someone who is appointed by you to carry out the terms of your Will. The Independent Executor is the person who pays debts and taxes, and collects and disposes of estate assets according to the terms of the Will. The Executor will have complete control of your assets, therefore, must be someone you trust and who is capable of settling your estate. Any person who has a felony conviction is not eligible to be the executor of your estate.
Selection of Guardian, if needed
If you have minor children, you should name at least one guardian for them in your Will. This person(s) will be charged with the rearing of your children. Before automatically designating your parents, consider whether they would want to serve, the age gap between the grandparents and the minors, whether the grandparents live in an area with other children in the neighborhood, whether the grandparents have friends with children, and whether it is likely that the grandparents will die before the children reach eighteen years of age, causing the children to have been twice uprooted out of their homes. Try to select someone with similar lifestyle, values, goals and who you would trust to raise your children.
Selection of Trustee, if needed
When choosing someone to manage your trust, consider:
- Do you have complete faith in the person?
- Is the person willing to accept the job? Just because you name someone, doesn't mean he or she will accept. Talk it over first.
- Where does the person live? It is not a major problem if your trustee is out of state; but for convenience's sake, the closer to home the better.
- If the management of the trust is complicated and an appropriate family member isn't available, consider naming a professional trustee, such as a financial institution. On the downside, banks are impersonal and charge annual management fees. The fees vary and are based on the value of the trust's assets. They may also be unwilling to handle any trust that does not meet their minimum requirements. These requirements vary with each professional trustee.
In addition to a Will, Mundy Legal Services advises that you also have a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney. This can include what’s known as a Living Will. For more information on Power of Attorney and Living Wills, click here. To learn about holographic wills, please click here.