This is the third posting in our three-part Under the Hood series on wills. In part one we covered a checklist for wills and looked at clauses one through four; in part two we focused on real estate and bequests, exploring clauses five through eight. In this third and final post in the series, we look at the final standard clauses in a will. As a reminder, the clauses in a will may be called by different names, but it’s the content that’s important.
As an advisor, I’ve found that clients appreciate assistance in this area. And although I do not draft legal documents, I will render advice as it pertains to the client’s dispositive desires. This should add great value to the advisor-client relationship. Let’s proceed by reviewing the clauses found in a typical will.
The Clauses of a Will
As a reminder, here are the 12 clauses typically found in a will:
4) Tangible Personal Property
5) Real Estate
6) Specific Bequests of Intangibles and Cash
9) Appointment of Fiduciaries
10) Testators Signing
12) Other Clauses and Provisions
Let’s resume our series on reviewing a client’s will with clause nine.
9) Appointment of Fiduciaries Clause
Issues to check in the Appointment of Fiduciaries clause:
Has an executor been named and clearly identified?
Have successor executors been named and clearly identified?
Are all executors of legal age to serve?
Have all executors been pre-qualified to serve?
Are all executors willing and able to serve?
Are any executors entitled to receive compensation?
Are any executors required to post bond?
Are any executors likely to predecease the testator?
Does the relationship between executor and beneficiary create a potential conflict of interest?
Example: Is an executor related to a beneficiary of the will? If so, will this relationship cause the executor to favor this beneficiary?
NOTE: You can ask the same questions of a trustee.