It can be uncomfortable for us to think about what will happen after we pass, but neglecting to make proper plans and develop a will can leave unintended consequences for the loved ones we leave behind. If you want to make sure your loved ones receive any property, money, or belongings once you pass, here is everything you know to develop a will:
Do you need a will?
A will is a legally-binding document that carries out your wishes for who receives any wealth, belongings, and property you may have, as well as who becomes guardian to any minor children if applicable. Without a will, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be respected after you pass, which is why the importance of establishing a will cannot be overlooked.
Those with minor children should absolutely establish a will sooner rather than later. If you unexpectedly pass, you need to have a plan for who you trust to take care of your children. Without it, your choice of guardian may not be upheld.
In your will, you will establish an executor. This should be someone you trust completely, as they will be responsible for making sure your belongings go to the designated beneficiaries and to make sure your affairs are in order.
Should you hire a lawyer?
In some cases you may not need a lawyer. There are software programs that can help you make a simple but official will. However, this is a serious process and you want to avoid any mistakes to ensure your will is upheld. If you have a large estate or complex instructions for what you’re leaving behind, it’s recommended to hire an estate lawyer who can navigate this process for you.
Where should you begin?
You don’t need to wait until you’re older to begin developing your will, as it can be updated any time to reflect changes you wish to make. The first step is to gather relevant contact information for anyone you plan to name as a beneficiary: names, addresses, date of birth, and potentially contact information like phone numbers or email addresses.
Next, you’ll want to gather your own records and make copies. This can include financial records like any real estate you have, your bank account information, any forms of savings including your 401(k), pension or retirement accounts, investments like stocks or bonds. Additionally, it could include any loans you may have such as student loans, business loans, or car loans. Clear and organized copies of any paperwork should be made in this part of the process. It’s also critical to include any other legal documents that may be necessary, such as divorce paperwork or copies of older wills that you’ve since updated.
Once you’ve gathered and made copies of all the relevant paperwork, then you will begin dividing your assets and assigning beneficiaries and guardians for your estate. Changes can be made at any time as your list of beneficiaries may grow.
This can be an emotional and often complex process, which is why it’s so critical to hire a lawyer you trust to treat your case with the empathy and compassion it deserves. The Law Office of Sara Turner is experienced in guiding her clients through the legal system with confidence. Reach out today for a consultation.