5 Questions You Should Ask a Lawyer When Making Your Will
Creating your will is one of the hardest decisions you'll ever make in your life.
Once you start to make one, it’s as if you’ve completely accepted the concept of death. However, this is a very practical move. One’s death will certainly come —the only uncertainty is when. Drafting a will helps you prepare for this time and ensures your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.
While many choose to DIY the drafting of their will, this route isn’t recommended. With a document as important as a will, it’s best to leave things in your estate lawyer’s hands. That way, you know for certain that you’re complying with the legalities surrounding its creation and implementation.
Here are some questions you should ask your lawyer when making your will:
1. Is Estate Planning Your Field Of Specialisation?
You should work with a seasoned lawyer specialising in wills and estate planning. An estate lawyer can give you that added peace of mind that your will can be successfully accepted in probate courts when you’re no longer around. Remember that you’ll no longer be physically present to prove the validity of your will, so you want to be sure you’re leaving things in the hands of a capable estate lawyer.
A lawyer specialising in making a legal will and estate planning stays up-to-date with any changes in local statutes and procedures. They can strategise and ensure your will properly reflects your wishes.
You should work with a seasoned lawyer specialising in wills and estate planning.
2. What Should Be Included In The Will?
Once you sit down, talk through what you want to be done after your death, provide your lawyer with the right documents, and ask what else should be included in the will. This will help you figure out which provisions should and shouldn’t be part of your will.
In general, most people include the following in their will:
- Funeral arrangements
- Distribution of assets, including your house, cars, bank accounts, and investments, among others
- Organ donation, if you’re willing
- Rights and powers of certain members of the family, such as the right to appoint the trustee of your family trust
- Guardianship of your minor children
- Distribution of specific belongings like priced artworks, personal possessions such as jewelry, photos, and luxury bags
These categories can provide you with a starting point when you’re drafting your will. However, do remember that death doesn’t extinguish debts. If you’ve got sizable debts that you might not be able to completely pay for during your lifetime, it’s good to also make a plan for their payment on your will.
3. Do You Also Execute The Will?
There are some will and estate planning attorneys who merely draft wills, while others can also execute them. Ask this question early on, because it’s best to work with the latter group. It’s more convenient to hire a lawyer who can also execute wills. That way, you’re guaranteed your will shall be executed exactly as you planned. After all, they’re the same lawyer who will work with you from day one.
4. Who Will Receive My Assets And How Much Will They Get?
The question of how much each of your beneficiaries are going to receive will often be guided by your local laws. It’s best to ask your lawyer about this so that you have an absolute say on the distribution of your assets. This question becomes all the more compelling when your familial relationships are quite complicated, such as when you have illegitimate or adopted children.
5. Do You Conduct Periodic Reviews?
Some lawyers conduct periodic reviews, while others don’t. A periodic review is done when the lawyer does a regular check for updates regarding any changes in your life situation. For example, have you acquired any significant assets after the time your will was made? Do you have new children? There could also be amendments in the law that can apply to you.
Work with a lawyer who conducts periodic reviews to constantly update your will until such a time as you become unable to do so.
If you have no idea how to start drafting your will, the advice above provides you with a great starting point. The most important takeaway is for you to remember to leave this task in an expert lawyer’s hands. In doing so, you’re assured that your will is accurate, legal, and will be accepted in the probate proceedings. A will is one of the most important documents you’re going to make in your lifetime, even if you’re not necessarily a millionaire. As long as you’ve got assets to leave behind to your loved ones, a will can help ensure that these are distributed according to your wishes after your death.