You know why it’s important to have a will, you know what will happen should you die without a will, and you’ve decided whether or not to hire a lawyer. Now it’s time to write your will. But where do you begin?
Evaluating your estate
Start by evaluating your estate. The first step in writing a will is to figure out what your estate consists of. Having a list of everything important you own will make it easier to decide what needs to be addressed in your will. If you are working with a lawyer for estate planning, this list will save you time and money.
What should I include on my list?
This is a list of items typically included in estate planning. You may not have all of these and you could have items that are not included here. Remember to write down the value of each item.
• Life insurance policies, face value (policy amount) and cash values
• 401 (k) plans, retirement funds, IRAs, Keoghs, annuities, etc.
• Bank Accounts, Savings bonds, CDs
• Investments—Stock and money market accounts, bonds, mutual funds, etc.
• Business interests and property Continue reading “Happy New Year!” »
If you’re thinking about writing a will, no Colorado law says you must use a lawyer. Many people with simple estates may be able to easily write their own will. Some outline their wishes, or make a draft, and hire a lawyer to write the final version. Others with larger estates and/or large families may need more extensive estate planning, which requires legal help from start to finish. In general, you should definitely see an estate planning attorney if:
• You have many questions about your will or how to make a will;
• You and your spouse have children from different, prior unions;
• You are divorced and want to keep your ex-spouse from your children’s inheritance;
• You have a long-term beneficiary—such as a disabled child—for whom you need to provide;
• You have a child with recurring financial problems, or who uses drugs or alcohol;
• You own part or all of a business; Continue reading “Will You or Won’t You?” »
For most of us, writing a will is a task we put off with a variety of excuses. It costs too much. It’s too confusing. It’s creepy. People under 50 don’t need wills. Excuses aside, there’s one good reason to write a will: what happens if you don’t.
Young and carefree
If you’re young and unmarried, writing a will may seem like a good task to put off for another year—or another 20 years. But if you’re hit by a snowboarder tomorrow and don’t have a spouse or kids, your parents would get everything you own. So, if you want to give your favorite nephew your computer and make sure your best friend takes care of your cat, a will is the way to go.
If you’re not married but in a committed relationship, a will is essential. If you die, your significant other won’t be entitled to any of your estate unless you make provisions now. Continue reading “No More Excuses!” »