Things to Consider When Writing a Will

Updated on November 11, 2019

Nobody likes to plan for the end of their life, which is why many people put off writing their will until it’s too late. A will is a document that lists what you wish to happen to your possessions after you pass away. This protects families, takes care of existing debts, distributes items, and can determine custody of children and pets. It’s easy to think you have plenty of time to get around to writing your will, but life is unpredictable. 

If you pass on intestate, meaning without a will, your state government will distribute your property. This typically involves allocating items to your heirs, such as your surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, and other family members. There are a lot of factors that go into determining who gets your property. As such, it’s better you make these decisions in the form of a will. Here are some basic things to consider when writing a will.

Consider your debts

List out all your current debts clearly and state how you would like to pay off each one. For example, many people pass away with car payments, mortgages, student loans, or credit card debt. In most cases, someone has to pay these off after your death. If your liquid assets at the time of your departure are not enough, provide a list of what assets the executor should sell to repay your creditors. Many people choose to sell their homes to pay off debts, while others prefer to leave their homes to loved ones.

Choose beneficiaries wisely 

Some individuals choose to leave a lump sum of money or assets to a single person. This is a wonderful way to let them know what they meant to you during your lifetime. However, if this beneficiary cannot sustain the property or benefits they receive, this gift could backfire. It’s important to note that leaving large sums of money to a person who depends on government aid can disqualify them from these services. There are ways around this, though. For example, if you want to leave your liquid assets to a family member with special needs, consider an ABLE account or special needs trust. This way, they can keep their government benefits and enjoy a comfortable life thanks to your gift.

Plan for your digital and biological assets

Today, many people forget about the digital legacy they’ll leave behind. As such, any social media presence or account that makes money should have a rightful recipient for after you pass away.

Another thing many forget to consider is their biological property. If you decide to partake in a different fertility method, such as freezing and storing your eggs or sperm, these are legally your property. Therefore, after you pass on, these biological samples will become the property of a person you choose. The other option is you can state in your will that you wish for the lab to destroy the samples.


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