Eight Things you must consider when drafting a Will

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A recent New Orleans City Business study highlighted that approximately 68% of Americans do not have a will. It’s startling considering the legal turmoil and emotional strain that can occur if one departs without clear instructions for their estate.

Your will is a roadmap for your loved ones, detailing your final wishes and how your assets should be distributed. So, what should you ponder when crafting this important document?

Here are eight essential factors to mull over. By considering these points, you’re not just creating a will; you’re safeguarding the future of your heirs, reducing potential conflicts, and ensuring that your desires are fulfilled.

  1. Executor Selection Revisited

Your will’s integrity hinges on the executor’s efficiency, given that they will shoulder the hefty task of implementing your final wishes. This role necessitates an unwavering commitment and a deep understanding of financial matters and the judicial system.

Even though it’s tempting to opt for a family member, it’s important to remember that emotional ties can blur their judgment. Sometimes, an executor outside the immediate family may be more suitable, especially if the estate is extensive or complicated.

In fact, an unbiased, competent outsider can be a boon in preventing and defusing potential familial conflicts that may arise during the estate’s distribution.

Contemplating who should be executor of will is a critical part of the planning process. So, take your time to evaluate potential candidates based on their ability to effectively manage your estate and navigate any challenges that may come their way.

  • Understanding Fairness and Equality in Asset Distribution

An essential aspect of drafting your will is deciding on the division of your estate. At this juncture, weighing the principles of fairness and equality is crucial. An equal division may seem the simplest route, but it doesn’t always reflect your heirs’ needs and circumstances.

Perhaps one heir may have a larger family to support or may have made more sacrifices to care for you during your lifetime. In such cases, a more generous allotment could be seen as fairer. Your will should serve as a reflection of your values and intentions, taking into account the individual situation of each beneficiary.

  • The Significance of Tangible Personal Property in Wills

Don’t disregard the power of tangible personal property – those everyday items you hold dear. From your cherished vinyl record collection to your grandmother’s antique jewelry, these items often carry substantial emotional weight. They can, surprisingly, trigger conflicts among beneficiaries.

No matter how trivial they may seem, such items deserve your attention in your will—offering explicit directions about who inherits which item can mitigate potential disputes. You can determine who values a particular item or who would treasure it the most while maintaining harmony among your heirs.

  • Addressing Digital Assets in Your Will

The umbrella of digital assets covers a wide range, from email accounts to online savings. Ensuring your digital legacy is managed appropriately after your passing is crucial to crafting a comprehensive will.

To accomplish this, you need to provide your executor with the necessary information:

  • List of email accounts and passwords.
  • Details of social media profiles.
  • Credentials for online banking and brokerage accounts.
  • Locations and access keys to digital files on computers and servers.

This data empowers your executor to handle your digital assets per your wishes.

  • Navigating Estate Taxes

The extent of estate taxes hinges on two key factors – the size of your estate and your geographical location. Both these elements determine the tax slab applicable to your estate. It’s critical to comprehend that these taxes can considerably shrink the value of what you leave behind, resulting in less for your beneficiaries.

Hence, it becomes imperative to build a strong and well-researched tax planning strategy. Professionals like financial advisors or attorneys can provide valuable assistance in this arena. Their expertise can help you devise strategies that minimize the tax burden, ensuring that your estate is distributed as you intended without being significantly eroded by taxes.

  • Incorporating a Special Needs Trust

When planning your will, the welfare of a loved one with special needs may be a key concern. A Special Needs Trust (SNT) can be a vital tool for providing financial security without compromising access to government aid. Designed specifically for their benefit, an SNT allows assets to be set aside to support the beneficiary’s needs.

This arrangement ensures that the beneficiary retains eligibility for government assistance, often based on income and asset limits. However, setting up an SNT involves careful planning and a detailed understanding of legal intricacies. A reliable and competent person or institution should manage this trust.

  • Planning for Your Pets in Your Will

Pets often form the heart of a family, providing unconditional love and companionship. When drafting your will, don’t forget to account for these cherished household members. A dedicated pet provision in your will can ensure their well-being even after your passing.

This clause should identify a responsible person who can take your pets under their wing, continuing to provide them with love and care. In addition to assigning a caretaker, consider setting aside funds to cater to your pets’ future needs. This financial provision can cover food, veterinary care, grooming, and other necessary expenses.

  • The Importance of Regular Updates to Your Will

Your will isn’t a static document but a reflection of your life’s circumstances at any given time. As such, it should adapt to the ebbs and flows of your life.

Various significant life events may warrant an update:

  • Marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child.
  • Major changes in your financial situation.
  • Moving to a different state or country.
  • Changes in your wishes for asset distribution.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Perhaps you’ve acquired new assets, experienced relationship shifts, or relocated to a place with different estate laws. Every change demands your attention.


Drafting a will is not a task to take lightly. It is a comprehensive document reflecting your life’s earnings, decisions, and love for your family.

It demands careful consideration, timely updates, and possibly professional help. From selecting a capable executor to addressing every asset and beneficiary, each aspect of your will matters.

Remember, it’s not just a legal document—it’s your lasting legacy. Take your time, think it through, and get it right. Your family’s future depends on it.

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