If you are wondering what information you need to prepare your will, you already have one of the most important pieces: You know that you need to put an estate plan in place. Having an estate plan is important for a variety of reasons, and a will is a fundamental component of almost any estate planning strategy.

So, now that you are ready to get started, what’s next? Here is a list of some of the information you will want to discuss with knowledgeable McKinney estate planning lawyers:

7 Key Pieces of Information for Preparing Your Will

1. Intended Beneficiaries         

Who do you want to own your property after your death? This is one of the most basic questions involved in estate planning; and, for many people, it is also one of the most challenging. Knowing how you wish to distribute your estate will be essential to preparing your will, and it will help determine if you should incorporate a trust into your estate plan.

2. Backup Beneficiaries

When putting together an estate plan, it is always a good idea to include a contingency plan. While you can always modify your estate plan later, identifying backup beneficiaries in your will (in case one of your primary beneficiaries dies during your lifetime) can help you avoid revisiting your estate plan earlier than necessary.

3. Personal Representative (and Backup)

Your personal representative is the person who will be responsible for administering your estate after your death. If you do not appoint a personal representative, the probate court will need to appoint one on your behalf. Like naming your beneficiaries, when naming your personal representative, it is a good idea to name a backup as well.

4. Distribution of Your Assets

In addition to identifying your intended beneficiaries, you also need to decide who gets what. If you only specify percentages (i.e. each child should receive half of your estate), this will be setting your loved ones up for uncertainty – and potential disputes – during the estate administration process.

5. Charitable Goals

If you have any philanthropic aspirations, you should discuss these with your attorney as well. There are several ways to incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan, and your attorney will be able to help you select an option that provides maximal charitable and tax-savings benefits.

6. Guardianship of Your Minor Children

If you have minor children, appointing a guardian in your estate plan will allow your family to avoid the process of seeking to appoint a guardian in Texas court. It is important to make sure your desired guardian is willing to serve in the role, and you may want to consider providing financial support for your guardian in your estate plan (i.e. to help cover his or her monthly living expenses) as well.

7. Healthcare and Financial Management Surrogates

Finally, who should manage your finances and make decisions regarding your medical care should you become unable to do so? Once again, making these types of decisions now will help protect your loved ones from facing difficult questions down the road.

Contact Our McKinney Estate Planning Lawyers for a Consultation Today

If you would like to speak with a McKinney estate planning lawyer about preparing your will, you can contact our McKinney, TX law offices to schedule a free estate planning consultation. Please call (214) 726-1450, or send us your information online and we will be in touch as soon as possible.