It’s all too common to delay creating a will until a serious illness strikes or an individual celebrates a milestone birthday. Many people delay consulting a lawyer regarding estate planning because they expect to lead a long, healthy life. While this is certainly ideal, a catastrophe can strike at any time. It’s advisable for all adults to work with Bakerink, McCusker & Belden a lawyer in Tracy to create a will. By establishing a last will and testament, you can protect your family’s future.
Evaluating Your Assets
Before you sit down with your lawyer to write your will, make a list of all of your assets. This list should include your bank accounts, real estate, retirement funds, life insurance policies, and various investments. It should also include personal assets such as your vehicle, art collections, jewelry, and other items of significant financial or sentimental value.
Once you have a complete list of all of your assets, it’s time to decide who your beneficiaries will be . You can designate as few or as many beneficiaries as you wish. You may bequeath your liquid assets to your children, for example, and your real estate to your spouse. You may wish to divvy up family heirlooms among your beneficiaries. Bear in mind, however, that certain assets cannot be distributed with a will. This includes any property that you hold jointly. By law, this property will pass to the surviving owner. For example, if you own a house with your spouse, your spouse will automatically receive full ownership of the house upon your death.
Designating Legal Guardians
It’s widely known that wills are used to bequeath assets; however, many people overlook another important aspect of a will: Designating legal guardians. If you have children under the age of 18, you can use your will to designate a legal guardian upon your death. It’s common to designate a spouse as legal guardian and to designate another family member, such as a sibling, as the secondary guardian in the event that your spouse does not survive.