There are lots of things to consider and some truths to confront when it comes to making a will. As painful as the conversation may be for some families, not having it will only result in more pain later on. Lives are complicated. There are remarriages, step-children and adult children who can't handle money. There are children with special needs, children with education funding concerns and surviving spouses who remarry and nobody likes the new wife.
To get things moving here is what needs to be considered:-
Get a will
Everyone needs a will.
A Will directs not just who gets what but also how they get it. You may also need to establish a plan to ensure that the directions of the Will are carried out. Determine what your goals are and think out all possible scenarios. Each scenario needs to be addressed. For example many married couples want to set things up so that the surviving spouse gets everything and then when the surviving spouse dies, it all gets left to their children. But what if Dad remarries after Mum dies and then is outlived by his new wife? Should that new wife be allowed to live in the family house until her death -- thus delaying when the adult children can realise it as an asset? What if Wife number two devoted herself to caring for Dad, keeping him out of a nursing home and protecting the family's other cash assets by doing so? Still ready to put her in the street?
Be honest about family shortcomings.
Parents may feel that their older adult daughter is more responsible than her younger sister. The younger one may have made what the parents see as some bad life choices. They think her husband is a freeloader and fully expect the marriage to end in divorce. They are concerned that some of what they give their daughter will become the husband’s on divorce.
We live in complicated times and with blended families, things can get hard to sort out. If the children are adults when a remarriage occurs, many people simply provide for their biological children with their inheritance. In some cases, a stepson becomes close to the new parent and is included as an heir to that parent. It all depends on the relationship and what the parents feel is the right thing to do.
Delegate assets, beyond the house and money.
This is the "who gets Gran's three-carat diamond ring?" stuff. A lot of families have heirlooms - some of greater value than others. It's best to dispose of these specifically.
Get a solicitor, but don't leave it all up to the solicitor.
Estate planning has lots of ramifications, including not just making sure people get what you want them to. It also has lots of tax implications. For the best results, you need sound legal advice but remember the solicitor won't know about your family dynamics, shortcomings or needs. Stay involved.
Long-term care and your estate.
Provision of care varies from Local Authority to Local Authority and you may wish to consider how long term care will be funded if required. Again talk to your solicitor who can help protect your assets. There are tax implications that can be addressed now that will protect your assets later.