We know it isn’t something that people like to talk about, but you won’t be here forever. In the event of your passing, you can significantly ease the burden on your family if you’ve left clear instructions to them regarding how you want your earthly possessions to be handled. The best way to create legally enforceable instructions are Wills & Trusts.
However, they can be potentially very complicated legal documents – and missteps in how they’re written or notarized can generate confusion at best – and make your will and trust legally void at worst.
Obviously, you don’t want that to happen. We’ve got some tips on how best to create legally sound wills & trusts!
Tips for Creating Wills & Trusts
Assess your Assets
Everyone’s situation is different. There are folks out there that have one bank account, one house, one car, and one child. For the rest of us though, it’s extremely important to note and log every single one of your assets before creating a will or trust. If you leave something valuable out, it can (and will) cause issues with your surviving family, especially if you don’t have an executor there to arbitrate how that asset will be divided up.
An asset is anything that holds value, and while you don’t necessarily have to get so granular with your accounting that you’re listing every single stamp in your stamp collection, it doesn’t hurt. Here are some examples of common and overlooked assets:
Common Assets to list in your Will or Trust:
- House or other property deeds
- Insurance Policy
- Retirement Account
- Bank Account
- Stocks & Bonds
Assets that are Often Overlooked:
- Gun Collections
- Expensive/Rare/Antique Furniture
- Musical Instruments
- Gym & Club Memberships
- Hobby Collections
- Power Tools
- Credit Card Points & Frequent Flyer Miles
- Livestock or Sport Animals & Pets
- Digital Purchases (Computer Game Collection, Music, Ebooks, etc.)
- Photo Albums
It may seem overwhelming to catalog each and every one of these things, but it’s worth it. The last thing you want your family to have to do during their grieving process is argue over possessions you forgot to include in your will & trust.
Hire a Wills & Trusts Professional
Now that you have an accurate list of your assets, it’s time to call in the pros.
There was a time when a simple, written will was enough – but those days are long gone. As we mentioned above, Wills & Trusts can be incredibly complicated and a slip up on the paperwork here or there can invalidate them quickly. That’s where we come in!
With decades of experience in estate planning, wills and trusts, Gilliam & Mikula can help you create wills or trusts… and we can do it quickly, easily, painlessly, and compassionately.
Whether you choose us or not, hiring an attorney to create your will & trust is a must if you are taking your estate planning seriously.
With a list of assets and a qualified legal team behind you, you should decide how you will divide your assets up. Whether you do so equally among your relatives, or only to your children, or if you want all your things auctioned off and the proceeds donated to charity, the choice is yours.
A will or trust can be an extremely powerful document, and a testament to your legacy. A generous and fair Will can guarantee your loved ones are taken care of and planned for, and a poorly or maliciously executed Will can tear your loved ones apart. Treat it accordingly!
When the Time Comes… Execute
You should appoint an executor to carry out the instructions in your Will & Trust when the time comes. Again, the choice is yours – but we recommend a neutral party. Wills & Trusts can be hotly contested, and the last thing you want is one of your loved ones to be the focal point of that contest.
We Can Help You Create Your Wills & Trusts
Again, we know it’s not a fun thing to talk about – but estate planning is one of the best ways you can set your loved ones up for a life of success after your passing. Do it the right way, and let your legacy live on.
We can help with any and all parts of the will & trust creation and execution process. We have many decades of experience in estate planning, and approach it with the compassion and professionalism such a sensitive subject requires. We’d love the opportunity to help you plan your legacy. To start the process, just give us a call at 804-743-0900 or contact us online.
Gilliam & Mikula, PLLC, is centrally located in Richmond, Virginia, and serves clients throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our attorneys have over forty years of combined experience in various practice areas, representing individuals and businesses. We are licensed to practice in all General District Courts and Circuit Courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia including Central, Tidewater, and Northern Virginia areas.
The attorneys at Gilliam & Mikula are here to smoothly guide you through the “legal maze” and ensure that you achieve the most favorable outcome.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.