What to know about wills before meeting lawyers

How many people today lack a will? A report from the American Association of Retired Persons showed that only about four out of every 10 American adults have crafted a will.

It is vital to get this document out of the way as soon as possible. People may think it is easy enough to meet with an estate planning attorney to get the necessary paperwork sorted. However, people need to do some homework beforehand to be adequately prepared for the first meeting.

Understand differences between a will and a living trust

Wills and living trusts are similar but have some key differences. A will indicates how people want to divide possessions, including property, upon death. A living trust is useful when people are still alive and indicates who serves as a trustee of the estate. A living trust is good for avoiding probate on assets. Knowing the differences can help the initial will consultation go more productively.

Determine who should be guardian of any minors

People with children younger than 18 years old need to determine who will watch after their children in the event of death. Most of the time, guardianship goes to the other parent, but that may not work if he or she is incapable of raising children or has died as well. It is important to pick a guardian who can provide children with a stable environment

Choose a trustworthy will executor

Generally speaking, it is inadvisable to select a will executor who is also a beneficiary. It is usually recommended to avoid picking family members and other close loved ones as executors because it can cause added stress in an already stressful time. Ultimately, the decision comes down to the person. People need to do what is best for dividing property and determining beneficiaries.

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