Wilson Financial Services Inc.

(859) 824-9422

Estate Read Time: 4 min

Will Power

Only one-third of adults have an estate strategy document such as a will in place, which may not be entirely surprising. No one wants to be reminded of their own mortality or spend too much time thinking about what might happen once they’re gone.1

But a will is an instrument of power. Creating one gives you control over the distribution of your assets. If you die without one, the state decides what becomes of your property without regard to your priorities.

A will is a legal document by which an individual or a couple (known as “testator”) identifies their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets after death. A will can typically be broken down into four main parts.

1. Executors - Most wills begin by naming an executor. Executors are responsible for carrying out the wishes outlined in a will. This involves assessing the value of the estate, gathering the assets, paying inheritance tax and other debts (if necessary), and distributing assets among beneficiaries. It’s recommended that you name at least two executors, in case your first choice is unable to fulfill the obligation.

2. Guardians - A will allows you to designate a guardian for your minor children. Whomever you appoint, you will want to make sure beforehand that the individual is able and willing to assume the responsibility. For many people, this is the most important part of a will since, if you die without naming a guardian, the court will decide who takes care of your children.

3. Gifts - This section enables you to identify people or organizations to whom you wish to give gifts of money or specific possessions, such as jewelry or a car. You can also specify conditional gifts, such as a sum of money to a young daughter, but only when she reaches a certain age.

4. Estate - Your estate encompasses everything you own, including real property, financial investments, cash, and personal possessions. Once you have identified specific gifts you would like to distribute, you can apportion the rest of your estate in equal shares among your heirs, or you can split it into percentages. For example, you may decide to give 45 percent each to two children and the remaining 10 percent to a sibling.

The law does not require that a will be drawn up by a professional, and some people choose to create their own wills at home. But where wills are concerned, there is little room for error. You will not be around when the will is read to correct technical errors or clear up confusion. When you draft a will, consider enlisting the help of a legal or financial professional, especially if you have a large estate or complex family situation.

Preparing for the eventual distribution of your assets may not sound enticing. But remember, a will puts the power in your hands. You have worked hard to create a legacy for your loved ones. You deserve to decide what becomes of it.

1. Caring.com, 2023

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

 

Related Content

Women and Wealth: A Pivot Towards Retirement

Women and Wealth: A Pivot Towards Retirement

Tips and strategies for women approaching retirement to ensure a smooth transition.

The Investment Risk No One’s Ever Heard Of

The Investment Risk No One’s Ever Heard Of

You face a risk for which the market does not compensate you, that can not be easily reduced through diversification.

Putting a Price Tag On Your Health

Putting a Price Tag On Your Health

Being healthy not only makes you feel good, it may also help you financially.

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Where Will Your Retirement Money Come From?

Retirement income may come from a variety of sources. Here's an overview of the six main sources.

Fallen Tree Damage—Who Pays?

Your liability for damages that occur when a tree on your property falls on your neighbor’s property is not clear cut.

Women and Financial Strategies

Most women don’t shy away from the day-to-day financial decisions, but some may be leaving their future to chance.

View all articles

Federal Income Tax

Use this calculator to estimate your income tax liability along with average and marginal tax rates.

Bi-Weekly Payments

This calculator estimates the savings from paying a mortgage bi-weekly instead of monthly.

Home Mortgage Deduction

Use this calculator to assess the potential benefits of a home mortgage deduction.

View all calculators

Surprise! You’ve Got Money!

Here’s a quick guide to checking to see if you have unclaimed money.

The Cost of Procrastination

Procrastination can be costly. When you get a late start, it may be difficult to make up for lost time.

The Rule of 72

Do you know how long it may take for your investments to double in value? The Rule of 72 is a quick way to figure it out.

View all videos