When you are planning a will, your goal is to determine how your property is distributed. As you start to think ahead to who is going to inherit your assets, however, you may become overwhelmed with the idea of determining what is going to happen to every single piece of property that you own. Since many people own a lot of stuff, those who are making their will commonly wonder if they need to specify who is going to inherit each item they own.
The good news is, you do not have to specifically mention all of your property by name. You can include a residual clause in your will that dictates the remainder of your estate not specifically bequeathed to someone should be left to a particular person of your choosing.
A Vermont estate planning lawyer can provide you with assistance drafting your will and including the necessary clauses, like a residual clause, to make certain that your wishes are respected. Call Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC today to find out more about the assistance we can offer in planning your will.
Do You Need to Mention Every Asset When Planning Your Will?
When you are planning your will, you should think about all of the different assets that you are going to bequeath to heirs after you pass away. In particular, if there are specific items that you want to go to certain family members or friends, you should list those assets separately and clearly identify who they are supposed to be going to.
In some cases, you may want to leave many similar types of property to a particular family member. For example, you may want all of your books to go to your niece who loves reading and all of your art to go to your nephew who is a collector of paintings. Instead of listing each book or piece of art in your will, you can just bequeath categories of property to your chosen heirs or beneficiaries. However, you must make sure you do not create confusion when you do this as certain types of property could potentially fit into multiple categories. An attorney can help you to draft a will that makes your wishes clear.
Once you have determined what specific property you want people to inherit, you can then use a residual clause to specify who is going to get the rest of your estate. This clause essentially instructs that a particular person (like a spouse, child, friend, or other family member) inherit the remainder of your estate after specific bequests are made and expenses are paid.
Should You Transfer Every Asset Via a Will?
Another thing to think about as you decide what assets to transfer in your will is whether your will is actually the best way to gift those particular assets to heirs or beneficiaries or whether you are better off using alternative estate planning tools like trusts, pay on death accounts, joint ownership, or other tools that allow heirs to avoid probate.
The probate process can be a lengthy one, with Investopedia indicating that probate could take around a year and could result in costs equal to around three to seven percent of the value of an estate. If you want your heirs or beneficiaries to have access to some of your estate property sooner and if you don’t want certain assets being tied up in probate for months, you can consider working with an estate planning lawyer to explore different options for distribution of those assets after you pass away.
Getting Help from a Vermont Will Planning Lawyer
If you are going to make an estate plan that includes a simple will, or that includes other estate planning tools, you need to make sure you do it right so it provides the expected protection for your loved ones and so you can make certain your wishes are respected after you are gone. Far too many families end up fighting over assets after a death and experiencing problems that can do long-term damage to family relationships, even at a time when family members should be coming together to cope with their grief.
You don’t want your death to cause family strife, nor do you want the wrong people to inherit your property that you have worked so hard for. You need to work with a Vermont estate planning lawyer to do the type of will planning that is necessary to make certain your legacy is secure. You can download our free estate planning worksheet to find out more about how an attorney can help with the estate planning process. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team and find out how Vermont will planning lawyer can help you.