Last Will & Testament Details
A Last Will and Testament, also known as a Will or Last Will, is a document that allows you to dictate how your assets will be divided after you pass away.
What Information is Included in a Last Will & Testament
To complete your Last Will & Testament, you will need to provide:
- Personal information about yourself, such as your name and address.
- Your current marital status.
- Who you wish to name as your executor, and their address.
- Information about all of your biological and legally adopted children.
- Information about any assets or gifts you wish to give and the recipients or beneficiaries of them.
Parties in a Last Will & Testament
There are many different parties in a Last Will & Testament, and each has a different role.
Testator/Testatrix: A Testator or Testatrix is the person that the Will is being created for and whose property will be distributed once they are deceased.
Executor/Personal Representative: An Executor is the person who the Testator or Testatrix has designated to administer their wishes in terms of how the estate will be divided. You may have more than one executor, and you should have an alternate personal representative should anything keep your first choice from being able to carry out your estate plans.
Beneficiary: A beneficiary is someone who will receive either an aspect of, or all of your estate. You may name multiple beneficiaries and divide your assets as you see fit.
Pet Caretaker: If you have pets, a pet caretaker is someone who you would name to care for your pet upon your expiration.
When considering who should be your executor or pet caretaker, ensure that it is someone trustworthy and someone who can handle the weight of managing your affairs after you pass away. Talk to your executor and pet caretaker beforehand to ensure that they are willing to be a part of your Last Will & Testament.
When Do You Need a Last Will & Testament?
A Last Will & Testament is recommended for any individual who has assets and/or properties that they wish to distribute personally when they pass away. Contrary to popular belief, Last Wills are not only useful for seniors, but also for anyone who wishes to dictate how their assets will be divided instead of leaving it up to the court to decide.
You should create a Last Will & Testament if you:
- Get married, have children, or separate from a spouse.
- Have monetary assets, such as investments, savings, etc., that you wish to distribute to family or friends.
- Own property and wish to leave it to specific beneficiaries.
- Own a business (or shares in one) and wish to leave it to someone specific.
- Travel frequently.
- Have a dangerous job.
You should also update your Last Will after any major life event, including a significant increase in assets, a marriage, a child, etc.
What is the Residue of an Estate?
The residue of your estate is what is left after all of your debts, funeral expenses, taxes, and other balances have been paid. The residue of your estate is generally what you leave to your beneficiaries. In your Will, if the residue is not left to any beneficiary, it will be distributed as decided by a court.