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Getting ready to write a will

Writing a will can seem like a daunting task. Not only does it force you to think about death, but it also makes you consider how you want to leave your assets to your loved ones. It is essentially your last statement to your family and friends. 

While you can (and should) update your will during your lifetime, it is a good idea to make it as accurate as possible the first time around. Follow these guidelines to better ensure you create a will that is accurate and enforceable in court.

Make a list of your property

List all your assets and belongings. Generally, it is a good idea to begin with real property and real estate. Add vehicles, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and RVs. List all your bank and investment accounts. Do not forget any collectible items, such as jewelry or artwork. Of course, make sure you include sentimental items, too. 

Think about your heirs

Once you have a complete picture of your property, you can start to think about who you want to receive certain assets. These are known as heirs or beneficiaries. Potential beneficiaries may include your:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Nieces
  • Nephews
  • Grandchildren
  • Best friends

You may also consider distributing money or property to associations or organizations through your will. 

Consider who you want to serve as the executor

The executor or personal representative of your estate is responsible for carrying out the wishes in your will. Think about who you want to have this responsibility. It should be someone trustworthy who communicates well with others. Popular choices for the executor include an adult child, close friend, attorney or bank.

Decide on a guardian

If you have children, your will also designates a legal guardian for your them when you die. Ponder who you wish to serve in this important role. You may wish to get permission from your preferred guardian before putting it in writing. 

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