In Family Matters Financial Series Part 2, WU World Changer Kim Montgomery shares about the importance of a living will and defines a living trust. Late joining this series? Catch up on Part 1!
Family Matters Financial Series Part 2: Why do I Need a Will and What is a Living Trust?
What is a Will?
A will is the primary document that should be prepared while living, to be effective at death. A will is a written document expressing how one would like his or her estate distributed after death. Usually, a Will must be executed in the presence of two disinterested witnesses and in some states, must be notarized. A person making a will must have testamentary capacity (over the age of 18, of sound mind and competent)
What Should a Will Specify?
A Will should specify the following players and instructions:
- Testator- male person making the Will
- Testatrix- female making the Will
- Executor- male directed to carry out the wishes of the decedent
- Executrix- female directed to carry out the wishes of the decedent
- Witness- male or female over the age of 18 who is present during the signing of the Will
- Beneficiaries- the parties who receive property under the specific instructions in the Will
- Burial information- manner in which you would like your remains handled, details concerning mortuary, church and cemetery arrangements
Organizing funerals can be traumatic so the more instructions you leave the easier it should be for your family to execute your final wishes.
5 Factors to Consider When Making a Will:
- Consult with a reputable professional experienced with drafting such documents
- Create an information sheet that has a list of all your investments and valuable assets, making your estate much easier to administer
- Include clear instructions:
- Outline how you wish the assets and/or property to be administrated/distributed
- Keep your will in a safe place – ensure it can be easily located when needed
- Identify who may be appointed the executor. A good suggestion would be to seek permission beforehand from the designated person, such as:
- Family member
- Close friend
- Business partner
- Bank trust officer
- Qualities to consider when appointing an executor:
Someone who is:
- Calm under pressure
- Business experience
- Attentive to detail
- Financially stable
What is a Living Revocable Trust?
A living revocable trust is a written legal document that partially substitutes for a Will.
With a living trust, your assets (your home, bank accounts and stocks, for example) are put into the trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to your beneficiaries upon death.
Living revocable trusts, have great value as part of estate planning but do not necessarily avoid probate. A living revocable trust, if properly prepared and administered, can be a very effective tool to manage assets in the event of illness, disability or the effects of aging.
In light of the aging population the use of living revocable trusts, to minimize the risk of elder financial abuse and address similar issues, can be an important consideration to include in an estate plan.
Stay tuned for the next part in this Family Matters Financial Series next week where I will discuss, “Financial & Medical Power of Attorney/ What is a Fiduciary.”
I invite you to please visit my website to forward any questions or comments you may have.
I look to forward to connecting!
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