If you’ve been putting off creating a will, you’re not alone. While many people find it uncomfortable to think about creating a will, doing so is necessary to ensure your wishes are carried out and loved ones are cared for after you’re gone.
Before visiting an attorney to draw up a will, here are a few things you should consider.
1. What are your estate planning goals?
Estate planning is the procedure by which you arrange for the disposal of your assets after death. It can eliminate uncertainties, streamline the probate process and ensure your assets go to the heirs of your choosing.
Estate planning may include the use of a will or a will with a trust. If you don’t own a business or real estate outside of your home state or have minor children, then a will may suffice. An estate planning attorney can help you figure out what you need.
2. List Your Assets
Before meeting with an estate planning attorney, list your assets and debts.
Do you own a home and is there a mortgage on the home?
Whose name(s) are on the deed to the home?
Do you have retirement accounts or brokerage accounts?
Are there beneficiaries on the accounts or are the accounts held jointly with your spouse?
Be sure to gather all relevant paperwork from bank and brokerage accounts, life insurance policies, real estate, cars, stocks, jewelry, paintings and anything else of value.
3. Choose someone to carry out your wishes
You will need to name an executor of your will. Your executor is the person who will carry out your wishes and see that your assets are disposed of in the manner you have requested. If you’re married, your executor is often your spouse. But be ready to name an alternative person in case your first choice is unable to serve.
It’s very important to talk to the person you want to be your executor about taking on the responsibility beforehand. If you have minor children, decide if your executor will also be their guardian or if you need to name someone else. Don’t forget to consider how pets will be cared for and if you want to set aside money for their care.
4. Specific Bequests
If you have items like a wedding ring or other keepsakes you want to go to specific people, make a list to include in your will. This holds true for charitable gifts and any college funds you might want to set up for loved ones.
5. Don’t Go It Alone
You may think writing a will is easy and can be done using an online company or computer software. But if a mistake is made, your estate may be tied up in probate court and can end up costing more than was saved by not seeing an attorney. Attorneys know the specific laws of your state and the right questions to ask to make sure your goals are achieved.
For more information on writing a will contact us today!