Wills and Estates

Do You Have a Will?

Do You Need to Plan Your Estate?

You need a will if your response to any of the following questions is a yes.

  1. Do you care who gets your property when you die?
  2. Do you care who gets your money when you die?
  3. Do you care who is appointed guardian of your minor children if you die?
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Who Needs a Will?

The simple answer? EVERYONE.

Wills are not only for the rich. We know that is the stigma. We are here to tell you otherwise. Regardless of how much or how little money you have, a will is necessary. Here is why…

The legal document ensures that your personal belongings/assets will go to the person you choose. This person is your beneficiary. Without a will, the court makes these decisions for you upon your passing. If you have children, it is a necessity. This ensures you choose your children’s guardian. Few people plan to die soon. But, if you die unexpectedly without a will, you’ll be subjecting loved ones to confusion. Times like this often cause a lot of anxiety for family members. Having a will allows them to grieve without added stress or concerns. Furthermore, there are other benefits to having a will, including tax benefits.

How Do You Get Started?

At a minimum, it should appoint a guardian if you have minor children. It also appoints an executor to administer your will when you pass. This spells out how you want your property distributed.

Step 1 is deciding how you want to distribute your property. That begins with gathering information. You will need the following:

  • Names, addresses and birth dates for yourself. Furthermore, you need the same info of your spouse, your children, proposed guardians and executor of estate.
  • Amounts of all debts you have. This includes mortgages, car loans, business or student loans and credit card accounts.
  • Copies of existing wills, trusts, divorce decrees, prenuptial agreements and any other legal documents.
  • Finally, a list of assets including detailed information about the following:
    • Real Estate
    • Savings (bank accounts, CDs, Money Markets, etc.)
    • Investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs)
    • Life Insurance Policies and Annuities
    • 401(k), IRA, Pension/Retirement Accounts
    • Ownership interest in a business
    • Cars, Boats, Planes and Other Vehicle Titles
    • Jewelry
    • Collectibles
    • Artwork
    • Antiques
    • Furniture
    • Other Personal Property