Legal Tips and Resources
Preparing your final will and testament is an important step in your estate plan since this is the main document which the court and your executor will use to distribute your assets and determine who will take care of your dependents or elderly parents (if applicable).
Before you set up an appointment with your estate planning lawyer, it’s helpful to be prepared ahead of time to speed up the process.
Property and Assets
First, create a list of all your assets and any real estate or land you own. You will also need documents that prove ownership such as:
- Real estate deeds
- Vehicle titles
- Bank statements for all bank accounts
- Investment account info
- Business ownership info
- Appraisal documents for any valuable or rare items
If you have any major debts, you will want to have these documented in your will. This can include mortgages, car and student loans, credit card debt, back taxes, etc.
The executor is the person who will distribute your estate after you pass, so they should be someone you trust such as your spouse, parent, sibling, or older child. Their actions will be overseen by the probate court. Provide this person’s contact information to your lawyer.
Beneficiaries and Relationships
Decide who you want to leave your property to, and collect their contact information, full name, address, as well as social security number, and adoption papers or birth certificates of any young children you have.
If you have children from one marriage and are still married, you likely will not need any additional paperwork. But if you have been married more than once and have children from more than one marriage, or have adopted kids, you will need to include papers regarding divorces, marriages, alimony, and adoption. When you pass, these relationship situations and the items being given to each person need to be made very clear, so the court knows precisely what to do in the case that someone tries to fight the court.
You will have to include all tax documents in your will. Be aware of inheritance taxes as well. Ask your lawyer what you can do to legally reduce this tax burden for your heirs.
Guardians for Young Children
If you have young children at the time you set up your will, make sure you include details about who you want to be their guardian. It may also be a good idea to create a trust for them to handle your estate until they are of age.
Speak with an experienced will lawyer in Roseville, CA to ensure your estate is set up to benefit your heirs and to protect as many of your assets as possible from unnecessary taxation.
Thanks to the Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and documents needed to prepare a will.