A will is a legal document that mentions the wishes of a person after their death. You should hire a last will lawyer to make your will. Every will is different from another in terms of its contents. But there are a few things that should be included in every will. You will find those common elements in this article.

1. Heading, Marriage, And Children

Heading

The heading of a will mentions the full name of the will-maker and their residential address. It also includes a declaration that the will-maker intends it to be their will.

Marriage

A section on the will describes the marital history of the will-maker. It should state if you are married, widowed, or divorced.

Children

A will also need to mention how many children you have. You also need to mention adopted or stepchildren if you have any.

2. Debts And Taxes

Every ‘will’ should contain this section. It has to include how your debts should be paid if you have any. Moreover, the will needs to clarify which assets will be used to pay off the debts.

3. Disposition Of Assets

This provision is the most critical part of the will. It specifies who will inherit your assets. You also need to describe elaborately how all your assets should be distributed post your demise.

4. Guardianship

If you have children, you need to mention this in a will. It will specify who will be a guardian of your children in your absence.

You should select this person carefully as they will be managing your children’s finances until they become a legal adult. If you do not mention a guardian for your children, the court will decide it for you.

5. Executor And Trustee

This section in a will specifies who will be responsible for managing your assets. You also need to mention the powers of the executor and the trustee.

If you do not limit the controls, even the simple act of selling your house will become complex. You should seek assistance from a lawyer for will and trust while specifying the powers of the executor and trustee.

6. No Contest Provision

This provision is used to address the possibility of any individual opposing the conditions of your will. It is a non-negotiable requirement in every will.

7. General Provisions

A will needs to contain certain general provisions, which will vary based on the situation. You can include how a divorce can impact your estate plan.

8.    Definitions

A will needs to contain certain definitions in it. It will clearly state what some of the words and phrases included in the will mean. The definitions help in eliminating potential ambiguities regarding the will.

9.    Trusts

Trusts are not mandatory to include in a will. But if you have minors as beneficiaries, you can include a Minors’ Trust. Some people also create trusts for disabled beneficiaries. Such trusts should be made in a way that does not deprive the beneficiaries of government healthcare benefits.

Testamentary Trusts

A trust created inside a will is known as a testamentary trust. The person setting up the trust will have to appoint a trustee. The trustee manages the trust until the beneficiary receives the money.

  • Sometimes testamentary trusts are used to leave money for minors. The minors lack the maturity to handle the property immediately.
  • So, the trustee takes care of the finances and estate on behalf of the children. The trustee manages the trust until the minor becomes eligible to handle their own trust.
  • Usually, an event is specified when the child will take care of the trust property. It can be when they turn 18 or when they graduate, or any other significant point in life.
  • One of the biggest advantages of testamentary trusts is that no stamp duty is involved. The transfer of property from the owner to the trust can be done with the help of a will.
  • Most living trusts are created with the purpose of avoiding probate. However, you cannot avoid probate with the help of a testamentary trust.
  • A testamentary trust is bound to undergo the probate process before the will is created. The will is probated by the executor.
  • Sometimes the trustee requires legal advice regarding the administration of the will. The legal fees for such advice are covered by the trust amount.
  • You should know that testamentary trusts are usually inexpensive to create. But they might become costly after coming into effect.

The assets in a testamentary trust cannot be taken out. The trustee will have to agree to give the assets to the beneficiary. The assets in a testamentary trust cannot be legally owned by a beneficiary.

Key Takeaway

These are a few of the most important things that should be included in a will. You can contact any ‘law firm for wills’ to get more advice.