It’s a stressful time when parents pass on, but it need not be. The key is to encourage your parents to write a will using Plan Right Law and list out all the tangible property or their valuable and sentimental things and who they are to go to.
It’s not enough to say to your children, “You can have my wedding ring,” or this picture is yours. Word of mouth is not enough with family dynamics. For example, recently a father passed away. He had told his son that his truck and trailer would belong to him when he passed. Unfortunately, he did not write it down anywhere or plan for the disposition of this property. The widow sold the truck to her brother and gave the trailer to another brother. You can imagine the hurt and anger this caused! To this day, the son will not speak to his stepmother, and states, “I will not attend that woman’s funeral.” Sad but a scenario that is often true.
Every effort should be taken to include directions about all the personable belonging you have accumulated. Contact Plan Right Law to add a memorandum of tangible personal property. This memorandum is where a parent can list what item is given to what particular individual.
We, at Plan Right Law, have prepared a document that helps you list out all your belongings and who they need to go too. Call us, and we will help walk you through this document.
We also recommend you discuss with your children what you want to give away and who gets what possession. Plan Right Law invites clients with children to use the conference room as a meeting place and employ one of our expert facilitators for this meeting. It is hard to have open and honest communication with your children when sentiment is at stake. Conversing with your children in a more formal setting will do more for preserving family relationships than all the estate planning in the world.
When you go to write your will with Plan Right Law, follow these seven steps to get your affairs settled.
- List your assets like property, stocks and bank accounts. Decide if you want to make specific gifts to certain people in your circle.
- Once you have made specific bequests, think about who gets whatever is left over. The residue is the most valuable part of your estate, and most people leave the residue or balance of their estate to their spouse or children. You can leave it to many people or divide it up into specific shares. Watch you don’t leave your spouse out of your will. Many states give your spouse the right to claim one-third or even one-half of your estate no matter what your will states.
- Name an executor of your estate. Every will needs an executor who will define and manage your assets according to your will. Ask the executor if he/she is willing to serve since it can be a time-consuming job. An executor divvies up the property as stated in the will, pays your debts, settles your tax bills, and cancels contracts and leases. Your executor will manage your bank accounts and keep your finances in order.
- If you have minor children, you will need to designate an adult to be their guardian. If you forget to do this, the courts will decide which family members get to raise your children. If no one will watch over your children, they could wind up in foster care.
- If you leave property to minor children, appoint someone to manage their property while the children are too young to handle it themselves. If you do not follow this step, the court will appoint someone to serve as the children’s property guardian.
- Once you have your will written, you need to sign it in front of two adult witnesses. These witnesses will also add their signatures. Witnesses are often at the signing to attest to the fact that you‘re mentally competent to make and sign a will. Witnesses will make sure you are not coerced into anything you don’t want to do.
Try not to put off writing a will. It isn’t the most pleasant of tasks, and you are acknowledging your inevitable demise. A survey conducted by AARP stated that 2 out of every 5 Americans over the age of 45 don’t have a will. Creating a will is critical for your loved ones. Putting your wishes on paper helps your heirs avoid unnecessary hassles, fights, and concerns. A will give you the peace of mind knowing you’re your possessions will end up in the right hands. “A will is an important way you can stay in control over who gets what of your property,” says Sally Hurme, an attorney with AARP, “and by planning in advance, you can also save your family time and money.”
Don’t leave who gets your valuables and sentimental possessions up to chance. Make an appointment with Plan Right Law to get your will started and finalized before it is too late.