Estate Planning

Why do I need a will?

A will allows you to direct where your assets will go and when they will be distributed (in the case of young children, for example). It assures that your assets are distributed the way you would like and typically prevents family members from quarrelling about your estate.

Why should I change my will?

When a “life change” occurs, you should consider revising your will accordingly. There are many individual changes, but the following are examples:

You have married, divorced, separated
A child or grandchild is born
You have changed your domicile
There are changes in tax or estate laws
Your assets have increased or decreased
Your relationship with a beneficiary has changed
Your beneficiary has different needs than before (ie has past college age or has become handicapped)

Should I put my requests for funeral instructions in the will?

These are better left in a letter or directive to your children and/or executor/executrix left at home or in a safe deposit box. These are not legal provisions and may change from time to time. They are better left outside the will so that you can easily revise your wishes.

Can I keep my assets from my ex-spouse but provide for my children in my will?

Yes. So long as your separation agreement does not say otherwise, you can create a trust for your children and name a trustee (of your choice) to watch over the assets and distribute them to your children. That way, your children are provided for but your ex-spouse is not in control of your assets or able to use them, or control their use, in any way.

Can I provide for my new (second) spouse in my will and have my assets go to my children upon my death?

Yes. You can direct that your assets go to your second spouse upon your death but then to your children upon his/her death.

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