Estate plans often include multiple different documents, each of which serves a different purpose. The testator planning their estate will need to think about their family members and personal property, as well as their obligations, to determine what they want to achieve with their plan and therefore which documents are the best tools for their purposes.
Wills are one of the most common estate planning documents. In fact, even if you have a trust, you still need to have a will in place. In addition, many people do not need the complexity of a trust and their planning goals are able to be met with a will. Consider some common estate planning goals that people achieve with their wills.
They name a trustee for minor children
When you have young children, their needs will be the focus of the majority of your estate planning efforts. If you don’t take the time to name a specific trustee to manage your children’s inheritance, the wrong person could be appointed for this role.
A will is a straightforward way to name a trustee to manage your children’s inheritance. Furthermore, the will can include the details of how the inheritance will be managed for your children (i.e. the terms of your children’s trust).
It is also good to include a provision in the will to name a guardian who will take care of your children should anything happen to you. This is in addition to a separate nomination of guardian document.
You can be specific about who should not inherit from your estate
Wills are commonly used to designate specific beneficiaries for specific assets. However, a will is also a good place to explain which specific people you do not want to receive property from your estate. You can provide specific instructions about your decision not to leave assets for certain family members.
You can assign the remainder of your estate to someone
In addition to including specific gifts of belongings or cash, a will is a convenient place to name someone to receive the rest of your property not already specifically accounted for elsewhere.
Learning more about the possible uses of a will can help you decide if you should include one in your estate plan.