1. Personal Information
This is the first thing you should think about. At a minimum, include your full name, date of birth, and current address.
You can include additional information — if applicable — such as other names you go by and contact information of family members.
2. Testamentary Intent
This sounds straightforward, but it’s a mistake that many do-it-yourself estate planners make.
The will must clearly outline that the document is a will, nothing else. This can be as simple as: “This is my last will and testament, and it was most recently updated on [date].”
Don’t leave any gray area in regards to the intent of the document. This is critical from a legal perspective.
3. Beneficiary Designation
An important decision, as this outlines who you want to receive your assets upon your death.
You can name almost anyone the beneficiary of your will, including a family member, friend, business, or charitable organization.
It’s also good practice to name a contingent beneficiary, as this person is in line to receive your assets should the primary beneficiary be unable to do so, such as the result of their death.
4. Name an Executor
This is the person responsible for carrying out the terms and conditions of your will, while seeing your estate through the probate process.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to taking inventory of assets and debts, filing a final tax return, communicating with beneficiaries, and managing assets until they’re legally passed onto the appropriate party.
5. Name a Guardian
If you have any minor children, naming a guardian ensures that the right person raises them should you and your spouse pass away.
For assistance with all things related to creating a will, visit the website for Levine, Furman & Rubin at http://levinefurman.com or by calling our office at (732) 238-6000.