The Estate Planning Process

Make a list of assets: bank accounts, real estate, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc.  Pay close attention to how the asset is titled.  If you hold property in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship that provision will trump any provision in a will. 

Decide on your beneficiaries.  Who do you want to receive your assets? You can make a bequest on a lump sum basis or on a percentage basis. For example, your will can say: I give my son, $10,000.00 or I give my son 20% of my residuary estate. 

If you have a minor child or children you will need to decide who should be the guardian for the children.  If you are married, discuss with your spouse what traits are essential in a guardian for your child.  Consider factors such as age, health, religion, and ideology.  You will also need to select a conservator: the person who will be responsible for your children’s assets.  Generally the guardian and conservator are one and the same person, but that need not be the case.

Select a personal representative. This person was formerly known as an executor or executrix.  The personal representative will be the person responsible for paying debts and ensuring assets are properly distributed.

A trust can be created in a will and can provide property management for heirs and distribute property with discretion.  For example, instead of giving an eighteen year old all of his or her share under a will, the money can be held by a trustee to be used for health, education and support and defer distributions to an age selected by you.

Dean Law Office LLC can draft the documents you need to accomplish your estate plan.


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Margaret Dean 816-753-3100