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 Get Started :  Estate Planning

Making a Will

Estate Planning
Making a Will

A will is a legal document that transfers your assets to your beneficiaries when you die. It's the primary means of controlling who inherits your property, your personal effects, and other assets that do not have an assigned beneficiary. By having a will, you'll be able to designate an executor to administer your estate and a guardian to care for your minor children.

Writing a will is one of the most important steps you can take when planning your estate. It doesn't matter whether you're married, a single mom, or divorced. If you die without a will, you'll create a lot of heartache for the loved ones you leave behind. The courts will divvy your assets and pick someone to raise your children in your absence.

1) Who Should Have a Will?

  • Single women.
  • Single mothers.
  • Married women.
  • Women who remarry.
  • Divorced women.
  • Widows.
  • Elderly women.

2) Elements of a Will

The basic elements of will:

  • Your Name and Address.
  • Names of Family Members and other Beneficiaries.
  • Names of Friends and Charities.
  • Alternate Beneficiaries.
  • Name of Executor -- see duties.
  • Name of Alternate Executor.
  • Name of Guardian to care for your minor children -- picking a guardian.
  • Name of Alternate Guardian.
  • Name of Trustee to manage your children's assets.
  • Specific Gifts.
  • Trusts.
  • What assets will be used for the cancellation of debts (estate and inheritance taxes).
  • What debts are not to be paid off.
  • What assets are to be sold.
  • Other wishes.
  • Your Signature.
  • Witnesses' Signatures.

3) Preparing a Will

You should give some thought about the contents of your will. Here are some basic steps to help you stay on track:

A. Outline of your objectives.
B. Pick an executor.
C. Inventory of your assets.
D. Inventory of outstanding debts.
E. Determine your beneficiaries.
F. Select charities.
G. Determine special gifts.
H. Decide on distribution of assets.


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