Make Sure These Five Things Are Included in Your Will
Creating a will is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Once you take the time to ensure this vital legal document is in place, updating it regularly is key. This ensures any changes in your family or in your financial situation are addressed in a timely manner. It also helps eliminate the potential for eliminating important details that could impact how your estate is settled. If you have not yet created a will, contact our Bronx & Westchester estate planning and asset protection attorneys to do so. If you have one, review to make sure it includes all the appropriate details.
What to Include in Your Will
Having a legally valid will ensures your loved ones are aware of your final wishes and helps to avoid lengthy and potentially costly probate court proceedings. Unfortunately, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) reports that 60 percent of people do not have one in place. Among those who do, there are likely to be many who have neglected important details. In addition to designating beneficiaries and detailing property or assets, double check your will to ensure it includes the following:
- A list of personal belongings and those you wish to inherit them. Obviously, real estate, cars, and money in financial accounts need to be detailed and distributed through your will. However, people often forget about personal belongings which have little financial worth but plenty of sentimental value. An old quilt, a piece of furniture, or an item of jewelry may have special meaning for certain people in your life. Take the time to detail these items and who they should go to.
- Gifts to charitable groups. Throughout your life, you may have been passionate about certain non-profit groups or lent your support to charitable causes. These groups often operated under limited budgets and gratefully accept charitable bequests. You can easily list these donations in your will as a specific dollar amount or as a percentage of your overall estate.
- Plans for pets. If you have a dog, cat, or other animal you care for, make sure they are provided for in the event of the unexpected. In addition to naming someone you trust who is willing to provide for their care (check with this person first), leave money to cover the costs of food and veterinary care.
- Forgiveness of personal loans. If you lent money to a relative or friend, consider whether you want to forgive this debt formally in your will.
- An alternate estate administrator. Your estate administrator acts as your representative in New York Probate Court proceedings. Be sure and name an alternate just in case they are unable to perform this important task.
Let Us Help You Today
At Cavallo & Cavallo, we are your neighborhood law firm. We help to protect you by ensuring you have a valid, updated will and other important estate planning documents in place. To schedule a consultation in our Bronx or Westchester office, call or contact our New York estate planning attorneys today.