A will is a legal document that outlines an individual's wishes to distribute assets and property after death. Preparing a will may seem overwhelming, but ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes is crucial. While DIY will preparation options exist, working with an attorney provides peace of mind and ensures your will is legally binding.
Here are the steps necessary to have a will prepared by an attorney:
Step 1: Make an Appointment with a Local Attorney
If you don't have a relationship with a local attorney, ask friends and relatives for referrals. If that is unsuccessful, search for estate planning lawyers in your area.
Step 2: Gather Information
For the lawyer to prepare your will, you must provide information about your assets and liabilities and your wishes for what should happen to them after your death.
The information your lawyer will need includes the following:
- Business ownerships
- Financial assets - bank accounts, bonds, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, stocks
- Personal property - jewelry, artwork, furniture, and collectibles.
- Real estate - your home, rental properties, and bare land
- Debts - credit card balances, mortgages, and personal loans
- Funeral expense - the cost of your funeral and related expenses
- Taxes - federal, state, or local taxes owed, and estate taxes
It's essential to provide as much information as possible to your lawyer during the preparation process to ensure your will accurately reflects your financial situation.
Step 3: Attend the Consultation and Decide on the Terms of Your Will
The attorney will ask about your assets and wishes at your consultation. Your attorney will also explain the options available to you and help you make informed decisions about your estate plan.
During the consultation will help you decide on the terms of your will, including:
- Appointing an executor
- Appointing guardians for your children
- Listing how to dispose of your assets
Step 4: Will Signing and Storage
After you've agreed to the will's terms, your attorney will prepare the document. You then sign it in the presence of witnesses and a notary public. Once signed, the lawyer will provide instructions on where to store your will.
In conclusion, preparing a will is essential in protecting your assets and ensuring that your wishes are respected after you pass away. By working with an attorney, you can ensure that your will is legally binding. This will provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones by ensuring your debts are paid, and your assets are distributed according to your wishes.