Insurance, Money Management

How My Will Is Structured

We’ve just returned from our attorney’s office and we are the proud owners of two, shiny new wills!  🙂

I thought I’d share a little about how my will is structured –

If I were to die, my wife becomes the executor of my will and all of my assets would go to her.

If both of us die, at the same time, all assets go into a family trust.  We named an executor and a trustee.  (In our case, the executor and the trustee are the same person.  But, we could have named an executor – the person who carries out the details of the will, and a trustee – the person who manages our assets.)  The executor carries out our wishes, as detailed in the will.  The trustee, in our case, manages our assets for our children, until such time as they are able to manage those assets for themselves.  In our case, we asked the trustee to divide our assets into three portions, one for each child, and distribute those assets to our children once each child reaches a certain age.

We also made provision for the care of our minor children, should we both die at the same time.

I have to tell you, it felt very weird to be signing my will.  (Note:  I actually already had a will, and so did my wife.  But, I had written them myself and I was always worried that they wouldn’t stand up in probate.  That’s why we decided to go to an attorney.  We wanted more peace of mind.)

I should receive the bill for the wills in a few days.  Once it arrives, I’ll let you know how much they cost.

As soon as we left the attorney’s office, I went to an office supply store and purchased a fire-proof, water-proof, storage chest.  Now, our wills and our other important documents are safe and secure.

I’m only 33 and I hope to live for a long, long time.  But, I don’t want to die and leave my kids with an uncertain future.  Now, I know that they’ll be taken care of and I know that my wishes will be known.

Side note:  As I’ve stated many times before, I am NOT a financial professional.  I’m just writing about what I have done.  I strongly suggest that you seek professional advice before making any financial decision – especially one as important as the structure of your will.

7 thoughts on “How My Will Is Structured

  1. NCN,

    I review wills on a daily basis as Director of Financial Planning at a Wealth Managment firm (I have a J.D. but do not draft as a currently ‘not practicing’ lol). Couple things I HOPE your attorney went over with you.

    1) Did you guys get ancillary documents? Did you get health care proxies, Living Wills etc.?
    2) What you have is known as a Simple Will or an I love you Will couple issue arise with such a will. I have NO IDEA how much your insurance is, nor do I know what your assets are for estate tax purposes, but if you live ina decoupled state your attorney should have warned you about inching towards that.

    For example in NY – a decoupled state, even if i have estate of $2mil (with insurance found in the estate) I pay nothing in federal estate tax I owe (or rather my heirs owe since I am not here!) over $99,000.

    Just somethings to think about if there is a request for my detail do not hesitate to let me know!

  2. Way to go with the will! This is something that my wife and I have been planning on doing for a long time.

    I am ashamed to admit that I am a personal finance blogger without a will! I’ve thought about doing an online wil with uslegalforms or that Robert Shapiro outfit, but I’ve even been too lazy for that!

    I admire what you have done!

  3. Congratulations on getting a Will in place and naming guardians for your child! That’s a critical step that most parents never take.

    BUT, it’s possible that you’ve made 1 of 6 mistakes that I see most people make when naming guardians. When I thought about it as a mom and a lawyer, I realized that most parents are not doing enough to make sure their children would REALLY be taken care of if anything happened.

    For example, your Will won’t generally provide for the immediate term. Will your caregivers know who to call? Are their local people who have been given legal authority to make decisions and stay with your child?

    You can check out all of the 6 common mistakes and determine if you’ve made any of them at


  4. Congratulations! Wills are not just for old folks, they are especially good for the young, unless you want the state to carry out their wishes. This way your wishes will be done.

  5. Way to go on your wills. I always wonder why so many people do not take the time to get their will done properly. With such an important piece of paper I also would suggest to have an attorney properly prepare your will.

  6. While a fire-proof, water-proof, storage chest is a great start, I’d also recommend having your will OFF SITE, as you never know what will be the situation will be in your passing, you don’t want to have a situation where no one can get to these documents you put thought, money and time into.

    Having the executor/trustee, someone else, and perhaps a lawyer hold on copies seems like a prudent move.

  7. A couple of things to think about–as the parent of adult children, I can see now that it would have been a disaster had any of my children received their estate share at age 18. I have particularly immature children, but frankly, I don’t know many 18 year olds that wouldn’t be “driving” much of their new money soon after receipt. In a will, you can designate later ages and I think that is good. Also, if any of your children develop handicaps that make them eligible for SSI, you will need to check out a Special Needs Trusts–something I hope is never a problem for you. And finally, dividing up personal property has been known to fracture families. For my will, I wrote in a system where all the personal items left after my death are to be numbered (either individually or in sets). Starting with the oldest, each child can select one item until everything anyone wants is gone. This insures that everyone will get something they value but no one child will get everything they want.

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