Five Prep Steps to Creating a Will

Creating a will is the cornerstone of estate planning in Denver CO – it distributes your property as well as names a guardian for your children and executor for your estate. If you take these five steps before meeting with an estate attorney and drafting a will, the process will be much smoother.
1. Evaluate your net worth
Make a list of your assets, including your home, vehicles, retirement plans, business interests, jewelry and other personal property. Your net worth also includes the death benefit on all of your life insurance policies. Even though life insurance does not have to pass through probate, it does count as part of your taxable estate. List your liabilities – including your mortgage, vehicle loans, credit card debt and any money owed. Your net worth is the total of your liabilities subtracted from the total value of your assets.
2. Choose a guardian for minor children
This step can stop many parents in their tracks, for it is difficult to imagine their children being raised by someone else. Talk with your selected guardians about your choice and make sure they are willing and able to take on the challenge of raising of your children. You should also name a backup choice should the original choice be unwilling or unable to take on the responsibility.
3. Choose an executor for your estate
An executor is responsible for carrying out your wishes and other administrative duties for your estate. The executor may be a spouse, family member or trusted friend, but it can also be an institution or professional. You should also choose a ‘backup’ executor should your first choice be unwilling or unable to carry out the duties.
4. Determine how you would like your property distributed, as well as any donations you would like to make.
Property is distributed to the named beneficiaries in a will when the debts of the estate are paid off.
5. Contact an estate planning attorney to sit down and determine the best way to carry out your wishes while addressing issues such as estate taxes and avoiding probate.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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