Whether you are young or old, you might not think about estate planning, but it’s never too early to plan for the future. If you are a couple who have just start having children, or you’re kids are all grown up and out of the house you really need to think about what will happen with your assets if you are not around. About 68 percent of Americans lack a will according to AARP!
Family attorney Matt Zimmerman says one important aspect of estate planning is drafting a last will and testament. A will is a legal document that outlines what happens to your assets after you pass away. To ensure that your wishes are carried out according to your plan, it’s essential to consult with an attorney. If you have a spouse, it’s important that you both have wills. However, before you meet with the lawyer, there are some things you should do to prepare. In this post, let’s look at what you need to do before you sit down and meet with an attorney to draft your last will and testament.
Determine Your Assets And Liabilities
Before drafting a will, it’s essential to figure out what you own and who you owe. This includes your bank savings and checking accounts, investment portfolios, real estate properties, jewelry, and any other valuable items. On the other hand, you should also consider your liabilities, such as loans, mortgages, and credit card debt. Knowing the value of your assets and debts will help your attorney draft an appropriate will, including how your assets will be distributed and how your debts will be paid off.
Choose An Executor
An executor is the person who you designate will be responsible for executing your will upon your death. This person will gather and review your assets, pay off any debts and distribute the remaining assets to your beneficiaries as outlined in your will. Choosing the right executor is critical. It requires someone who is trustworthy, reliable, and responsible. Your attorney can provide guidance on selecting an executor and in some instances can also serve as one if you don’t have someone in mind.
Determine Your Beneficiaries
In your will, you need to identify who will inherit your assets upon your death. Beneficiaries can be individuals, organizations, or charities. It’s important to consider that some beneficiaries may not be able to receive their inheritance outright, in which case you may need to create a trust or set up other provisions for how they receive that inheritance. Your attorney can help you navigate the intricacies of these provisions.
Decide on Guardianship for Minors
If you have children under 18 years of age, who need to designate a guardian who will take care of them in the tragic event that both parents pass away. Choose a person who shares your values and parenting style to make sure that your children are brought up in a way that aligns with your wishes.
Write Down any Questions You Have
Finally, before you meet with an attorney, it’s a good idea to write down any and all questions you have about the will or the estate planning process. They are there to answer all your questions and make sure you have no lingering questions about the process and what is being accomplished by preparing a will. Go prepared with questions, you can be sure that all your concerns are addressed, and that you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your will.
Drafting a last will and testament can be a daunting process, but it’s essential to protect your assets and ensure that they are distributed to the right people.
By preparing for your meeting with an attorney, you’ll be able to ask the right questions, consider your options, and create a will that accurately reflects your wishes. Remember that your attorney is there to help you, so don’t ever hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification on any issues that arise during the process. With proper planning, you can take control of your estate and give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind.
The estate planning attorneys of Blizzard and Zimmerman stand ready to help. Call today to get started with your estate plan.