Will preparation or estate planning is an extremely important legal process, one that cannot be avoided if you have a sizable estate and substantial assets. While it would be quite simple to leave no will, it might actually result in unwanted consequences for your family after your demise. However, preparing a will is also a complex process and one that requires good understanding of laws.
Basic Planning for Writing Your Will
Start planning your will by first creating a checklist of what you will need to create or write your will. This checklist should include the list of documents you'll put up in support of your will, names of all beneficiaries, inheritance tax calculations, trusts and/or guardians, and executors of your will. By creating this checklist, you can put your will preparation exercise in the right perspective.
Wealth Documents Required for Preparing Your Will
Depending on the size and distribution of your estate and wealth, you'll need a number of documents at hand for preparing your will. You will need a list of all your assets including immovable and movable properties and documents covering ownership and/or lease. Also include documents related to your bank accounts, investments, business and the like. If you are carrying any liabilities, do not forget to include those documents.
Documents Related to Relationships
If you have married only once and have kids only from that marriage, you would not require any special relationship documents. However, if you have more than one wife and kids from multiple marriages, or have adopted kids, include documents related to marriage and divorces, alimony settlements, and adoption documents in the list for your will. Without these documents, your will might turn into a legal battle for right of possession.
If you have been a regular taxpayer, all of your tax documents should form part of your will. Any wills that do not have the necessary tax documents attract heavy inheritance taxes and might actually render your beneficiaries bankrupt. Also talk to your legal counsel for clarity about inheritance laws and plan your will in a manner that minimizes the inheritance tax burden on your beneficiaries.
Including Documents in the Will
Include whatever documents you have in your will; this will allow your beneficiaries to form a clear idea about what they have inherited. If your kids are under 18, you might have to set up a trust with trustees to handle your estate on their behalf. You would also require a Power of Attorney in case you are entrusting the affairs of your estate to a trustee. The Power of Attorney and trust deed should have clearly defined dates and schedules of when things would be handed over to your kids and/or beneficiaries.