man-wearing-blue-blazer-on-business-meeting-picjumbo-comA Last Will and Testament is a foundational estate planning tool. Everyone needs one, but many people die without one. What can a Will do for you? Here, we list 5 goals that can be accomplished with a Will. You may have more estate planning goals that may need a more advanced instrument, but some of the basics are covered right here:

1. Care for your Children

In your Will, you can nominate someone to take care of your minor children and manage their finances. If you do not know someone that can fulfill both roles, then you can split the roles and appoint one caretaker (guardian) and one finance manager (conservator).

2. Make Gifts

You can make specific gifts in your Will. You can even mention a separate document in your Will, called a Personal Property Memorandum. You can update this document as you please, designating a recipient of any personal property you may own. That way, you do not need to update your Will every time you change your mind as to which child should receive Uncle Albert’s war uniform or Aunt Bea’s grand piano.  

3. Dispose of Property

After the payment of your debts, each state has a formula to determine who gets any remaining property and how much they receive. With a Will, you can give remaining funds to anybody, including children, charities, or even a pet trust, which brings us to . . .

4. Form a Trust

Trusts can be created during life (inter vivos) or through a Will (testamentary). Testamentary trusts can leave assets to minor children without them receiving everything in full at the age of 18. In a Will, you can outline the terms of these trusts to make sure that the trust provides incentives for the children to obtain an education or perform charitable work.

Testamentary trusts are not limited to minor children. You can also set one up for adults, non-relatives, or even your cat. Trusts are simply a way to transfer property to someone according to your terms and in a way that is managed by a third party. 

5. Tell your Family that you Care

Most importantly, having a property-drafted Will in place, along with a comprehensive estate plan, is a way to tell your family that you love them and that you care enough to manage your affairs before anything happens to you. Few things are harder on family members than a prolonged grieving process because they spend months and years reorganizing their lost loved one’s assets.

For the next several posts, we will dive in depth in our discussions on the benefits and limitations of WIlls in Utah. If you need a Will, please consult with an attorney to ensure it is effective and binding.