4 Things you didn’t know a Will can do

We are all familiar with the basics that a will can accomplish. It can transfer your assets outright to whomever you choose. It can appoint a personal representative to take care of your affairs after your death. A guardian for minor children is appointed under the will. However, these are not the only things a will does or can do. We will walk through 4 things you might not realize a will can accomplish. 

First, a will can provide instructions regarding your burial/funeral. You may give instructions about how the funeral should proceed, whether you want to be cremated/buried/or embalmed, who should officiate, how the program should proceed, etc. 

Second, a will deals with the administrative side of things. While distribution of your assets according to your wishes is important, there are other things to keep in mind. The will can provide guidance on dealing with debts and creditors, what assets should be used to pay debts versus those that should not, handling of taxes that might be owed by the decedent, amongst other things. These are important tasks that the personal representative will most likely deal with, but by laying out how these tasks should be dealt with, you can make the estate much easier to administer. 

Third, a will can provide for digital assets. This is deserving of more in depth treatment; however, digital assets (online accounts, documents, pictures, social media, gaming accounts, etc.) have become a much larger part of estate planning over the last 5 years. Your will can detail your wishes regarding the collection, distribution, and management of your digital assets (or destruction: let’s get rid of those old prom pics) and it can appoint a digital asset fiduciary (the person who is in charge of exercising your wishes regarding your digital assets). Certain states (Washington and Idaho included) have already passed legislation regarding digital assets and probate; however, even if the state has not enacted laws regarding digital assets, it is still a good idea to refer to it in the will.  

Fourth, you can provide for a trust being set up for minor or incapacitated descendants. Not all trusts can be set up within a will, but you can make provisions for those who are taking under the will who are minors or incapacitated. Generally, the personal representative is the person who will be tasked with setting up the trust according to the terms in the will. As with digital assets, trusts deserve a separate discussion themselves, but it is worth knowing that you can go ahead and put some provisions in place for minors and those who are incapacitated.   

All estate planning documents are at their core, complex. They are also useful and flexible, so it is always a good idea to try and take advantage of all the tools those documents can offer. 

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Eifert Law Firm

At Eifert Law Firm, we are committed to constantly honing our expertise and to continue learning and innovating to give you the best counsel in estate planning, probate, estate administration, and business law.

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