Easy hints to draft or update a will
Many people find the process of making a will overwhelming, so they delay the task. It’s easy to procrastinate when you envision the task as difficult or complex, but in many cases a will is a simple document.
Use the A, B, C method to begin the process.
A is for assets. Begin by making an inventory of all your assets. These can include insurance, bank and brokerage accounts, artwork, real estate, vehicles and other valuable items. Once you have this list, estimate a value and then deduct for any debts you may have. This will give you a rough idea of the total value of your estate.
B is for beneficiaries. Who do you want to receive your assets? First, consider family needs and obligations. You also may need to select one or more trustees or guardians for any minor children when considering your beneficiaries. Then review your charitable involvements and how a bequest could benefit them and create a lasting legacy for you. If you decide to make charitable gifts, the most common options are specifying either a set dollar amount or a specific percentage of your estate.
C is for confidants. Choose trustworthy persons to provide legal and other professional assistance, as well as a personal representative to handle the probating of your estate. Your personal representative should know the location of your will and you might want to share with that person an access key or combination. Some people provide their personal representative with a list of accounts, assets and funeral instructions.
Once you have answered these items, don’t delay. The next step is to contact an estate-planning attorney. There are several ways of finding an attorney you feel comfortable with. Many people ask friends or relatives for suggestions. You also can contact the trust department at a bank and ask for a referral. If you have answered the three questions above, you will be better able to discuss specific questions with an attorney.
What if you already have a will?
If you already have a will, it might be a good time to review its contents. With changes in tax laws and the size and extent of one’s assets, wills can become outdated. Many wills are written when one has minor children and if that is no longer the case, it might need to be updated. Other reasons to update a will include changes in your bequests, a change in your state of residence or, divorce or remarriage.
Please check out our latest Heritage Society Newsletter:
Uncertanties surrounding income tax rates, capital gains tax, estate tax exemptions and other such topics are demystified...at least for now. Please see this link for highlights from the Taxpayer Relief Act: Taxpayer Relief Act Fact Sheet
The IRA Charitable Rollover is extended for all of 2013 under the recently passed American Taxpayer Relief Act, AND you may benefit from two special transition rules that apply in January only. Please see detailed information by clicking on this link IRA Charitable Rollover Fact Sheet