When you pass away, your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries. It’s important you have all the documents pertaining to your assets so you and your lawyer can ensure everything is accounted for. This would include car titles, real estate deeds, bank statements and other investment information. Appraisals for other types of personal property, such as precious jewels, could be included with the asset documents as well.
In addition to your asset documents, you’ll need all the information pertaining to your beneficiaries. If your children are minors, you should gather birth certificates and/or adoption papers, as well as Social Security numbers. In addition to minor children, you will need certain information for any other beneficiaries. This includes their full names and contact information, such as phone numbers, addresses and email addresses. You may feel confident in your knowledge of such information, but having documents with you will ensure you get it all correct.
You should also be sure to have the contact information for your executor of will. This will be the person who manages your estate when you have passed away, and you can name him or her in your will. With minor children, you should also state who you would have as their guardian if you die before they turn 18 years old.
If you have major debts, be sure you have documents related to each one so your attorney can approximate your estate’s net worth. This can help you in distributing the entire estate. When you take a look at all your debts and what it does to your net worth, you may find a way to pay down those debts before you pass away so you can leave more to your beneficiaries. Debts include consumer debt, car loans, mortgages and student loans.
Contacting an Estate Planning Attorney
To learn more about creating a will and what you should take with you to your initial meeting, contact an estate planning attorney today. Your estate lawyer can help you get everything in order so your assets and children are properly taken care of when you have passed on. If you need help finding someone you can trust, you can always reach out to a personal injury attorney or other attorney you trust to help you find someone who specializes in estate planning.
Thanks to our friends from Cohen & Cohen for their insight into will preparation.