July 8, 2019
While the thought of creating a will is unpleasant to many, it’s critical that you leave clear instructions to loved ones about how you’d like your property distributed after you have passed. Why? Because if you die without a valid will, state law will dictate the terms of distribution which may not reflect your wishes.
You can avoid these problems by creating a clearly and carefully written will. At the GC Law Firm, our estate planning attorneys have years of experience helping clients write an effective will that stands up to later scrutiny by courts and individuals. If you don’t have a valid will, consider the list of tips for creating an effective one.
1. List your Assets
Draw up a list of your assets as if it were inventory. List all your real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, cars, insurance, pension funds, etc. Be sure your list is comprehensive and accounts for all money owed by you and to you as well.
2. Protect your Children
If your children are minors, you’ll want to establish a guardianship that outlines who will take care of them in the event that you and your spouse pass. A guardianship can also manage the assets you’d like to leave to your children and ensure they are properly distributed when the children come of age.
3. Distribute your Estate
Determining how you’d like your property distributed is central to creating a will. While sometimes dividing your assets can be simple and straightforward, other times complications may arise. It’s prudent to have an estate planning attorney assist you in the division of assets to ensure your wishes are met and any complications are solved sooner rather than later.
4. Name an executor/administrator
An executor or administrator will oversee the distribution of your estate and ensure that all your taxes and debts are paid. The executor should be someone you can trust—family member, friend, or attorney—who is willing to do the job. A lawyer can assist you with this critical decision.
5. Consult with an experienced estate attorney
Given the complexity and sensitivity of creating a will, it is advised that you consult with a trusted and experienced estate planning attorney. An attorney can foresee challenges and help minimize issues for your loved ones down the road.