Thinking about a will can be a difficult process. It means thinking about what would happen to your spouse or partner, children, grandchildren, siblings and family and friends when you pass away. While difficult to think about, it’s also a crucial way to ensure that your wishes concerning your surviving family and friends, are met. Clear directions on how to provide for spouses, adult children and their families, and how you wish to divide your estate can help your family avoid the complications that can arise if your will is vague, or you pass away without a will.
In an article posted by the Canadian Red Cross, there are a couple of items that people should think about carefully when they decide to plan out their estate. Because planning an estate can be a complex process, it’s best advised to discuss these topics with an experienced estate planning lawyer. He or she will be able to help you plan out decisions and directions that are clear, and make sense for your family.
A few of the highlights of what people may want to give careful thought to are as follows:
It is important to clearly layout what to do with personal items, for example a mother’s necklace, a specific portrait, or the family photo albums. Leaving the residue of the estate – known as what’s left over after debts and certain financial bequests are given out - can be a grey area. If the residue of an elderly parent’s estate is left to multiple adult children to sort out themselves, this could result in bickering, or even escalate to legal action.
In some cases, you may want to make sure you provide for someone for a long period of time after you pass, and you want to make sure the funds to do so are available. You could do this by setting up a trust instead of directly passing monetary funds to certain people. For example, if you have young children, or a child with special needs, you can set up a trust in order to help take care of their financial needs over time. You can also put limits on how and went a person can use or receive these funds.
Because wills are legal documents, you want to make sure you there are no errors or shortcomings in your estate planning. This is why it’s important to consult with an experienced estate lawyer. Estate lawyers will be able to identify any issues with your testamentary documents and what you can do to resolve them.