Young people, as well as individuals who do not have a lot in assets, may think that having a will is not necessary. However, every adult should have a will, even if it is a simple one.
A will outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of certain assets, and parents of young children should definitely have one. Along with understanding important elements of this legal document, it is good to know what things you should not include in a will.
Basic elements to include in a will
One of the main reasons people have a will is to describe the distribution of assets. U.S. News and World Report discusses that it is important to update the will when significant changes occur, such as the possession of large assets, marriage, divorce or the birth of a child. Without a will, distribution occurs based on your state’s laws. A well-drafted will also prevents someone from contesting the document.
If you have dependent children, a will states who the guardian will be in the event both you and your partner die. You should also name an executor in your will. This individual should be someone you trust, as he or she will be following out the orders of the will and managing the estate.
What not to include in a will
FindLaw discusses that you do not need to include assets that already have named beneficiaries. These include:
- Life insurance policies
- Retirement accounts
- Assets in a living trust
- Stocks that have a beneficiary
- Property that has joint tenancy
Some people recommend outlining instructions for your funeral in the will. However, the reading of the will often occurs after the funeral, so it is better to have a separate document that states your wishes regarding a memorial service and funeral.