An estate planning attorney can make the process of drawing up your will a very straightforward process. However, before preparing your will, there are several things to consider. As a will is intended to specify your last wishes, you may want to anticipate as many issues in advance as possible. Here are four things to think about when writing your will:
- What are your assets? Before meeting with an attorney, it is advisable to make detailed notes that list your assets and important information about each.
- Investments. What are they? What is their value? How can your attorney or executor access them after your passing?
- Bank accounts. List the current balances, account numbers, bank institution’s name and address, etc.
- Credit cards. Include the same information as for your bank accounts.
- Retirement accounts. Also include the relevant information.
- Digital assets. This might include your social media accounts that earn you income, valuable Internet domain names, online bank accounts such as PayPal, Bitcoin, etc.
- Biological assets. This usually includes frozen sperm or embryos for fertility treatments.
- Real estate. Include in the description information such as lot number, location, deed, etc. If you do not own it outright, include the name of the lending institution and loan information.
- Vehicles. Current value, make, model, year, color, etc. Also include if you have an outstanding loan, and if so, the balance owing.
- Settlement or injury awards?
- Designate the person who will be the legal guardian of your minor children. This may be the most important aspect of your will. Prior to designating who the legal guardian should be, discuss this with that person. If they have any concerns about taking on such a tremendous responsibility, now is the time to know. And if necessary, you can choose someone else if your first choice is not willing or able.
- Designate who should be the executor of your will after your passing. Depending on your situation, this person may also be the legal guardian of your children, but for many people, it’s someone different.
- Who will be your beneficiaries, and what assets will they inherit? Though this may change over time, and an estate lawyer Sacramento trusts can update your will when necessary, this is important to include.
- Name the individuals and their current address as well as contact information.
- Specify what each beneficiary should inherit in terms of your assets. If the asset will be liquidated, specify the percentage of the value or dollar value of the asset.
- If a minor child will inherit any of your assets, the will’s executor will have the responsibility of disbursing the assets to that individual after they become of a legal age.
- If you wish to bequeath any of your assets to charities or other organizations, name them as well.
After your estate planning attorney has finalized your will, unless major life changes take place, most people only review it every five years. However, each situation is unique and it is best to rely on the legal advice of your estate planning attorney.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning