When people in the Finger Lakes region of New York talk to an estate planning lawyer about creating a last will and testament, there are several important decisions they will have to make. Even though your lawyer will guide you through the process of making a will that complies with the laws of the state of New York, it’s up to you to make the key decisions. No one can force you to make any decision when you make a will, but there are some tips you can use to help guide you through the process of making good decisions.
Tip 1. Look at your last will and testament as only a piece of a broader inheritance plan.
A lot of people come to an estate planning lawyer with the idea that your last will and testament is the sole legal tool you will need when choosing inheritances. This idea is often reinforced by the popular perception of wills in film, television shows, and fiction.
While it is true that your last will and testament is a tool that allows you to leave inheritances, it is not the only tool available to you. Further, modern wills are usually less important when it comes to making inheritance planning than other tools you will likely include in your estate plan. For now, just realize that you will use other ways of leaving inheritances then just your last will and testament.
Tip 2. Think about who will be around in the future.
When you create a last will and testament, you will have to choose someone who will act as your estate representative. This person is usually known as an executor. People creating a will can choose anyone to serve in the role of executor, but there are some practical concerns you need think about.
First, your executor will need to be a responsible person. Even though the executor will have a probate attorney there for advice, the executor will still have to take on certain responsibilities and duties. That executor must at least be capable of handling such tasks when the time comes.
Also, you need to consider choosing an executor who will be capable of taking on those responsibilities when you die, even if that is years or decades in the future. Choosing someone who is young enough to be around when this happens is probably a good idea.
Tip 3. Look outside of the family.
If you have young children and are creating a will, you will need to choose a guardian who will take over caring for your child should you die prematurely. Most people who choose guardians choose family members for this role, but you shouldn’t automatically assume that only family can serve. Guardians can be anyone who can provide your child with the needed care, even if that person isn’t closely related to you.