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What Should I Include in My Will?

Your last will and testament is a document that provides instructions regarding your assets to your loved ones after your death. If you die without a Will, state law takes over and your assets will be distributed based on the state’s legal requirements, which means that your loved ones might not be the beneficiaries of your property. A Will makes your wishes known and is a legal document that you can put in place to give you and your loved one’s peace of mind. There are some important things you need to include in your Will.

What to Include in Your Will

Designate a person to oversee your Will after your death. This person is called the executor or personal representative. This person will handle your affairs after your death. Name beneficiaries and specify exactly what property or assets they should receive. You should also name alternate beneficiaries. Provide directions for how to divide personal assets and make provisions for any residuary estate, property that is left over after the property specified in the Will has been distributed. Name a guardian for your minor children. Give instructions for how to pay debts including funeral expenses.

Estate Planning Tips

When it comes to your Will, you are better off including too much information than not enough. Do not leave anything to interpretation. Do not forget to include details for how you want your pets cared for after your death. Update your Will whenever you have any major life changes, such as a divorce, or when you want to make changes to the beneficiaries. Let the executor of your Will know about your wishes ahead of time and make sure they know the location of your Will. Also, make sure your loved ones know about your life insurance policies and where to find details. If you have important assets and documents, keep them in a safe or safe deposit box and provide the executor with access to the key.

Make Sure Your Will is Legal

It is essential that you create a Will that is legally binding. You must follow Wisconsin laws when you make and execute a Will. In Wisconsin, handwritten Wills are not legal. You must type the Will and you must have witnesses and notarization. While it may be easy to fill out an online template, avoid taking this route. Online forms often do not cover all of your needs. Instead, get legal help with your Will. Remember that your Will is only one part of your estate plan. You can also include a medical Power of Attorney that provides instructions for how to handle your medical care should you become incapacitated. Another consideration is putting your property into a Trust for your loved ones. When you prepare ahead of time, you know your wishes will be carried out and your loved ones will be provided for after your death.

You will want to discuss your estate planning needs with an experienced attorney. Contact our legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to learn how we can help prepare an estate plan to meet your needs and put your mind at ease.

Published November 18, 2019
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