If you are thinking about getting your affairs in order for the end of your life, one of the first things you might look into is what it will take to get a will put together. A will is a document that lets everyone know what your wishes are for your estate and assets after you are gone. If you've never gone through this process before, there are a number of things you'll want to stop and think about before you make any big decisions.
Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when planning a will.
List What You Have and What You Owe
Your will makes it clear where your assets will go when you are gone but keep in mind that your estate might have to pay out certain debts before your beneficiaries see any money. Make a list of all current assets and debts to be mindful of as you begin this process. This will help ensure you don't overlook anything as you plan the will and it could also help any will planning lawyer you hire to assist you with this process.
List Potential Beneficiaries
Do you already know exactly how much you want to leave behind to certain people? List those beneficiaries and make it clear what they are supposed to receive. If you are not yet sure what to do with all of your assets, list potential beneficiaries and then go line by line through your assets to make a decision.
Decide Who Will Serve As Executor
You will need someone who is still among the living to serve as executor of your will after you are gone. Try and find someone capable or someone who has been through the process before. If you don't have someone like that in your family already, this is another reason why you might want to hire an attorney with expertise in this area. In fact, a lawyer to serve as executor is a good idea no matter what your family situation is, as it will ensure that everything is done by the book and any family emotion will be kept away from decision-making.
Consider Special or Unique Situations
Do you have young children who are not of age yet? A complicated business you will need to split up to multiple people? A standard might not account for every possible situation. A good lawyer may be able to help you include the right special clauses to account for your specific needs.
Go Back to Your Will for Adjustments As Needed
Going forward, circle back to your finalized will once per year or so as time goes on if you intend to stick around for a while. You can still make adjustments later on if needed to account for a change in assets or to name or change your beneficiaries.
Reach out to a local will-planning lawyer for more info.