How To Write A Will, Part 1: Preplanning
Before you even sit down to write a will, you’ll want to put some thought into the things that you want your will to cover. There are several questions you’ll want to think through.
What tangible property do you have? Think about any real estate, antique or collectible cars, jewelry, or family heirlooms in your possession, not to mention any other items you own that may be of value. These are things you’ll definitely want to pass on.
What financial assets do you have? Take stock of all your bank and investment accounts. It’s easy to forget about a retirement account here or an old checking account there, so be sure to jot down every last account you have since it’s all part of your estate.
What debts do you have outstanding? All debts have to be paid off when settling an estate, so this helps keep track of what debt you have outstanding.
What money is owed to you? Much of the money that you’re owed will still be owed even if you pass away, so you’ll want to create a record of this too.
Whom do you want to bequeath your estate to? Jot down the names of your spouse, children, family members and other loved ones and any charities, Alma maters, or public entities who you want to make sure enjoy a piece of your estate once you pass away.
Once you’ve thought through these questions, you’ll be in a better place to actually sit down and write a will.
Don’t forget to read Part 2: The Actual Writing Stage
Thomas Babson Kane is an attorney in Glastonbury, CT, specializing in Estate Planning and Real Estate law.