Having a will is a crucial aspect of estate planning that ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. Without this legal document, the distribution of your estate will be determined by the laws of your state, which may not align with your intentions.

 Often, a will is something that gets overlooked or pushed back on the to-do list. No matter your age or health status, every person should have a will. It’s not something that should be procrastinated until you retire or later in your life. Death can happen in an instant, which is why its important to craft a plan for your assets and continuously update that plan.

So, how do you create a will? Here are some steps to help guide you through the process:

  • Outline Your Assets
    • The first step of creating your will should be understanding what your assets are and compiling a descriptive list of each asset. This list of assets should include property, vehicles, investment accounts, annuities, insurance policies, bank accounts, etc.
  • Do Not Discount Smaller Assets
    • It’s important to remember even smaller assets should be included in your will. This includes items such as jewelry, artwork, and family heirlooms. While some of these items may not have significant financial value, they may hold sentimental value for your loved ones.
  • Designate Beneficiaries
    • After you have a good list of your assets, it’s time to designate beneficiaries for each or all of your assets. This entails making a decision regarding who will receive your assets following your passing. It’s crucial to give great consideration to who you want to name in your will and how you want your assets to be divided.
    • Remember to be specific about who will receive these items in your will. This can prevent family disputes and ensure that your wishes are carried out.
  • Designate an Executor
    • Choosing an executor for your will is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. Your executor will be responsible for carrying out your final wishes and ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your instructions.
    • Remember, you can also name a professional executor, such as a lawyer or a trust company, to handle the administration of your estate. This can be a good option if you don’t have a suitable family member or friend to appoint.
  • Draft Your Will
    • Once you have a clear picture of your assets and beneficiaries, it’s time to draft your will. You can seek the help of a lawyer to ensure that your will is legally binding and covers all necessary aspects. You can also write your will yourself and it still be valid, as long as it meets the legal requirements in your state. For example, if you write your will by hand, you should still have two witnesses—who saw you sign the will and don’t stand to inherit anything from you—sign it.
    • Remember to add another important information into your will such as who will care for your minor children, any specific funeral or burial instructions, etc.
  • Keeping Your Will Up To Date
    • Once you have crafted your will, it’s important to review it and update it as necessary. Having a will requires an ongoing effort. It’s a good idea to review your will at least once a year, and update it where needed. This will allow you to understand your will and see where changes might need to be made. Some of these changes could include the addition or removal of an asset or beneficiary.

Having a will and keeping it updated is essential for ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are provided for after you are gone. Take the time to create a will and make sure to review and update it regularly to reflect any changes in your life circumstances. Your future self and loved ones will thank you for taking this important step in planning for the future.

Work with Us

Creating a will can be an overwhelming process. That’s why we feel it’s important to work with an experienced financial advisor who can help guide you through the process and ensure that your wishes are carried out.

At Gainspoletti Financial Services, we can help you plan your legacy for future generations. Contact us today to take the worry out of planning for your future and help ensure that your lasting wishes are safeguarded.

The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing materials are accurate or complete. This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Gainspoletti Financial Services and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss these matters with the appropriate professional.