If you are making a will for the first time (or updating one for the first time in a long time), this handy list will help guide you. No matter how small or large your estate, the answers to these questions are important.
- Who will be the ultimate beneficiary of most or all of your estate?
- What if the person(s) in item #1 dies before you do? Who will get their portion?
- What “special gifts” do you want to make, if any? (You can give instructions about your pets or specify who gets an heirloom or a cash gift).
- If you have minor children- who would you want to raise them if you are unable?
- If you have minor children – who would you want to take care of their finances?
- Who would you like to name as your executor?
- Who would you like to name as alternates for guardian, trustee, and executor?
- Do you have any instructions about your funeral, burial, or would you like to specify cremation?
- What is the total value of your estate?
- Do you have a special situation that needs attention? (For example: step family, common law marriage, same-sex marriage, domestic partnership, property in one or more states/countries, disabled child or adult who is a beneficiary of your will, spouse with dementia, small business depending on you, or any other personal concerns)?
An experienced Texas wills and trusts attorney can help with your estate planning and can tailor the situation to your specific needs.
Often, visiting the attorney is the easy part. The hard part is going home and making the decisions about what you want. The job can be accomplished by sitting in a quiet place and writing down your desires. Then the attorney can draft an estate plan that works for you.