My mother passed a few years ago and didn’t have a will set up at the time. It was a nightmare for me and my brothers as we tried to sort through everything. I don’t want that for my kids. As much as I hate the idea, how do I go about creating a will and estate plan?
Dear Planning Parent,
I find with my clients that this is one of the hardest things to do. Trying to decide who gets what and who will raise minor children is a daunting prospect. My advice is to sit down first with a good friend or your significant other and talk through all the parts of it.
First, decide who should make decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. One part of that is financial, who will pay your bills and manage your finances, and another is who will make health care decisions for you. They don’t have to be the same person.
Check-in with those people you have chosen and make sure they are willing to perform those responsibilities for you.
Then decide who will raise your minor children if you have them. Again, check in with the person you choose to make sure they are willing. There will be someone that will manage the finances for that child, and it doesn’t have to be the same person doing the raising. Pick people with strength in each area.
Finally, who gets all your stuff? Think about having everything you own on your dining room table, stuff, and money together. Pick up each thing in your mind and hand it to the person you want to get it. Write everything you have decided down, along with full names, addresses, and dates of birth, and schedule a meeting with an attorney that has been recommended to you.
Voila, estate plan done. Best of luck.
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