When starting the estate planning process, one of the most important steps is to create a will for your last wishes and to protect your beneficiaries. While your will is not set in stone, it can be adjusted as you accumulate assets, gain beneficiaries, or have a change in heart of how you wish to divide your estate following your passing.
All Major Property
When creating your will, you should start to list down any major property, such as your family home, any vehicles, and any items of large monetary or sentimental value. Common items our clients include in their wills are:
- Their family home
- Their vehicles
- Sentimental items, such as wedding rings or jewelry, antiques, photo albums, or prized possessions
- Their financial accounts, such as savings accounts, 401(k)s, college savings funds, or investments
- Other items of high financial value
When including this property in your will, you should also determine how you wish for it to be distributed. Will you give your grandson your engagement ring? Or will you give your daughter the family home? Make sure to think about who you wish to give your estate to and don’t worry — this can always be adjusted at any time with the help of your estate planner.
Unfortunately, when you pass away your debts will not dissolve. Instead, they may be passed on to your children and beneficiaries unless you elect to save a portion of your estate to pay for those debts. When planning your estate and creating your will, your lawyer may advise you to plan for debt payments. Your debt can be paid through the sale of assets or the liquidation of your accounts.
Custody of Your Children
If your children are under the age of 18, this is especially important as it can establish legal guardianship if they are orphaned. As you make these arrangements, think about who you wish to care for your children in the event of your passing and then communicate with them about your wishes. Before you include this decision in your will, you and the prospective guardian need to be in agreement about the decision, as this will be legally binding after your passing.
Custody of Your Pets
As with your children, you may also want to designate who you wish to be the custodian of your pets should you pass before they do. Make sure to discuss your preference with the potential custodian first to ensure that they are willing and able to care for your pets.
Waukesha County Estate Planners
Planning your will can be a bit overwhelming considering all the decisions you will be making. You should rest assured that if you choose our estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C., we will treat you just like we treat our own families — with compassion and respect for your wishes.
Do you need to write a will? Call our team at (262) 205-0705 or contact us online to schedule a free phone consultation for your estate planning needs.