Having a Will is one of the best ways for you to let your family and loved ones know how you want your property divided after your death. A Will is one piece of a process that you may sometimes hear referred to as Estate Planning.
Regardless of how much money or property you have (this is sometimes called your Estate) having a Will is important. After all, if you do not have a Will, the state, and not you, will decide who gets your property.
Parents should always have a Will. At the very least, it gives you the chance to identify who you would like to care for your minor children after your death. It can also contain special instructions for how property that is being given to a minor child or disabled person should be handled.
If you have a Will, you should take care to ensure that it is kept up to date. Some events which may justify a review of your will include:
- A change in your beneficiaries
- You get married
- You have a new baby
- You get divorced or your spouse dies
- The size or value of your estate changes
- You move to a new state
Even if none of these events apply to you, you should consider having your Will reviewed at least every three years.
Additionally, depending on the size of your estate, your estate may be subject to federal estate taxes. If that is the case, those taxes may have a substantial burden on the estate and your survivors. There are, however, ways to avoid the impact of those taxes through proper estate planning. This may include establishment of trusts, re-titling property, making early gifts to beneficiaries, among other options.
When you contact me to discuss your Will and Estate Planning needs, one thing I will ask you to do is to complete a questionnaire to help us gather the information that you will need to prepare your Will. This questionnaire will gather information such as:
- Who your beneficiaries will be
- How you want your property divided
- The names of an executor (the person who will administer your Estate) and a successor executor
- The name of a guardian for any minor children
- Trustee for any Trusts you may establish under your Will
If you would like to get started on this process, here is a link to the questionnaire that we use.
As an experienced estate planning attorney, I would be glad to meet with you to discuss your situation and ensure that you have the right estate plan to meet your needs. If you would like to discuss a Will or other estate planning needs/questions you may have, please contact me.