Financial Literacy

Wills and How To Encourage Peace Upon the Final Read

Wills refer to the legal document that contains matters about the disposition of the assets of a deceased person. Wills take full force and effect, and can only be executed upon the death of a person. This will is created so that the deceased’s assets, no matter how small or big, are disposed of and left behind to the people or family members that ought to receive them based on the personal desires of the deceased.

However, it is not uncommon that when the lawyer reads the will aloud to the family members left behind, there can be some chaos or disagreement. Family members are not always in agreement with what was read aloud to them. Hence, instead of fostering peace, it can lead to fights and family troubles. This article presents you with how to encourage peace after reading the will.

1. Name a non-family member as the executor of your will

The executor of your will refers to that person who will put everything you’ve written down to reality in your absence. It is essential, therefore, that you name this person and choose them based on the trust and confidence you have with your relationship. However, as an added caution, it is best if you name a third-party, or a stranger, instead of a family member as the executor of your will.

Family members will always have interest over what is written in your will, and if you ask a family member to execute the same as well, it can lead to more disagreements, as it is easy to protest and pressure a family member that this is wrong. However, when it is a stranger — for instance, a lawyer like Brian Douglas — executing the same, the lesser the probabilities of the execution resulting in a non-peaceful discourse.

As an added caution as well, name only one executor, never two or three. There’s a reason why there is only one president in the United States.

2. As much as possible, distribute your assets equally

Another cause of arguments regarding wills arises when there is an uneven distribution of assets. Son A, who only received 1 million USD might question Son B, who was bequeathed with 5 million USD. When you make your will, therefore, it is best that you seek the help of a lawyer. When you have this professional help, you can make a better will, and you can better ensure that your assets are distributed based on their values.

If possible, you can also write your letter of intent with reasons as to why the assets are distributed in a certain manner. When your heirs know your intentions, there is less room for them to think that you did the same out of spite or anger. Here, they can be assured that your reasons are valid, which makes it harder for them to contest your will. In this letter of intent, you can even include who gets to manage and have control over any of your online accounts. Believe it or not, even something as small as an online account can cause disputes, because family members who are in distress can often be selfish and would want to hold on to even the smallest thing they have left of you.

3. Make sure your will is updated before the time of your death

If you have numerous versions of your will, the only one that will matter is the latest version at the time of your death. Hence, be very prudent to review and check regularly if this is still an updated version, if you are sick, perhaps, or if you have doubts as to its completeness.

For example, you had a will made in the year 2009 that contains all the properties and assets you will distribute to your family. You have four children. In the year 2012, you acquired three more multi-million vacation homes. Shortly after this, in 2013, you fell terminally ill and, unfortunately, you weren’t able to update your will regarding these three multi-million homes. Upon your demise, you can be sure that there is a very high chance that your family members left behind will fight over these three vacation homes. The fight can become even more chaotic because you have four children who are interested in the same, but there are only three vacation homes. This conflict could’ve been avoided had you updated your will upon the purchase of these properties, while your mind and physical body were still strong enough, and before the danger of death came along.

4. Be very specific in your will and avoid unpleasant surprises

When the day comes for you to create your will, be very specific with the stipulation and disposition of assets. Take much time to be very careful with the whole process, as you cannot afford to make any unpleasant mistake. Do not leave any surprises or any disputable matters, such as leaving behind a daughter or a son without allocating a single property or amount to them. When you leave out a family member, there is a very high chance that the reading of your will results in a tirade of disagreements and arguments. If possible, make sure that each one of your heirs receives something from you and does not end up empty-handed.

Conclusion

In this lifetime, properties should never be a reason for family members to argue or fight over. When you have a will in place, its purpose should be to hold the family together and enjoy what is left to them, in spite of the deceased’s absence. These tips are helpful to encourage peace with wills, rather than spite, hate or conflict.

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