Nobody likes to think that their days are numbered and many people refuse to consider the generation of a will until they get to their very advanced years. Yet the stark fact is that death can come at any time and without warning and if you haven't made plans for those who're left behind, this can cause considerable upset and confusion. Remember, the family will be mourning your loss as it is and you want to make sure that what you do leave behind goes to the right people. Knowing that you have to make a will is one thing, however, but doing it properly is quite another. What should you bear in mind as you tackle this all-important task now?
The Main Executor
The first thing to decide is who's going to execute your estate when you're gone. Sometimes people choose their significant other, while other times they may choose a good family friend. Either way, it's a very responsible task and you will need to ask them whether they want to be named as executor or not. If they do, they will be charged with the responsibility of distributing your estate once you're gone, which is quite an involved process in and of itself.
Looking after the Children
You need to make special provisions as well, if you have children in your care. It's unfortunate, but sometimes both parents die in the same accident and in this case you will have to ensure the guardians are ready and able to look after them until they reach legal age. Always appoint your significant other to be the initial guardian, but make sure that you have a substitute named in that unfortunate case.
Trusts for the Children
While the guardian will certainly look after the children, you also need to make provisions for their financial future. Set up a trust in each of their names and you need to appoint another person here to be the trustee. It's often a good idea to nominate somebody who has financial experience, as they will be in charge of investing the money properly so that the children get the maximum benefit from it.
Once all that is done, turn to items that may have sentimental value. You will want these to go to specific beneficiaries and should include all keepsakes and important family heirlooms in this activity. Don't forget any, as this will just cause issues. The executor will have to declare any of these items as intestate and it may in certain circumstances be necessary for a judge to decide who actually gets them.
Getting Expert Help
You need to bring in a number of professionals to help you. Firstly, speak with a tax lawyer to see how inheritance obligations may affect what you leave behind, as advance planning may mitigate some of the obligations. Most importantly, bring in a solicitor who can help you to draw up your will properly, so that it is watertight and everything goes well after that fateful day.