Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Preparing Your Will - A Quick Overview

According to a survey by AARP, 2 out of 5 Americans over the age of forty-five don't have a will. This statistic does not really come as a surprise; most of us don't want to think about our deaths, even though we realize that none of us are going to live forever. However, establishing a will is the best way to ensure that your heirs can avoid unnecessary hassles and that the assets and possessions you have accumulated throughout your life will end up in the right hands. Keep reading to find a few tips to help simplify your estate planning process, courtesy of the team here at First Bank of the Lake.

Think About The Small Stuff.

There are a lot of little details that need attention when preparing your will. For example, many partners opt to include each other in their wills, but it's also helpful to prepare for a situation in which you and your partner pass away at the same time, such as a car accident. As another example, retirement accounts and life insurance policies generally aren't included in wills, but their policies contain a place to name a beneficiaries. Also, if you want to leave sentimental items to specific family members, you should say so in your will. If you are a small business owner, it will be important to dedicate some extra attention to what will happen to your business after you pass away.

Name A Guardian.

If you are a parent, it is extremely important that you name a guardian for your minor children. If you do not specify a guardian, the court will make this decision for you after your death. It can be an unpleasant topic (for obvious reasons), but it's important that you make this decision, rather than making the court do it for you.

Name An Executor.

Every will needs an executor. This person will be responsible for carrying out all of the wishes described in your will and performing all the necessary tasks associated wrapping up an estate, such as paying off any remaining debts and taxes, distributing the property in your will, closing your accounts, etc.

Update Your Will.

Since your will is such an important document, it's important to make sure that it always represents your current wishes. Various life events (such as having a baby, getting married/divorced, or increased wealth) may impact the designations you have in your will. It is important to view your will periodically and amend it when necessary.

Find A Safe Place To Store Your Will.

As we have said, your will is an important document. It's important to keep it in a safe, secure place. Many attorneys offer to store the wills for their clients, and some people opt to keep their documents in a waterproof and fireproof safe in their homes. Wherever you choose to keep it, remember that your executor needs to be able to access it after your death.

Preparing a will may not be the most enjoyable experience you have ever had, it is an important step in everyone's life. Don't forget to designate some time to getting your estate plan in order!

Your Trusted Bank at the Lake of the Ozarks
At First Bank of the Lake, we pride ourselves on providing trustworthy, reliable banking services at the Lake of the Ozarks. If you have questions about how we can help you, feel free to visit us or give us a call!

First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
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4558 Osage Beach Parkway
Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065
(573) 348-2265

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