Your Last Will & Testament (your “Will”) is an important legal document that sets out how your estate will be administered – meaning how the property you own will be divided after you pass away. It is important to have a Will in place to ensure that your property is dealt with appropriately and in accordance with your wishes. In order to create a Will, you will need the help of a lawyer who has knowledge of estate planning. Here, I will go over what you can expect from a lawyer assisting you with estate planning and drafting or updating a Will.
First, when you hire a lawyer to draft or update a Will, you should expect to meet with the lawyer themselves to take your instructions directly – not the lawyer’s clerk or assistant. The lawyer you meet with should then be diligent in collecting all of the information that should be considered in order to ensure that your Will accurately reflects your final wishes. This information may include:
- Details of any Will currently in existence – should you want to update or replace a prior Will;
- Details of your assets – what they are and their value;
- Background information about your family and any others who you may want to include as beneficiaries;
- Any concerns and/or plans you may have for these family members (or other individuals) following your death; and
- Details of any existing insurance policies – including life insurance policies, as well as any insurance policies on your assets.
You should expect your lawyer to gather the information listed above as well as, in turn, to provide the important and necessary information about your Will, such as available options for provisions that can be included in your Will and ensure that you understand them. Some of the things that your estate planning lawyer should inform you of are:
- How a beneficiary designation can impact how you plan to have your estate administered;
- What executor insurance is and how you can get it; and
- What probate taxes are, why they need to be considered in drafting a Will, and how they will impact the administration of your estate.
If you need any assistance with drafting or updating your Will or have any questions or concerns about estate planning, our team is happy to help. You can contact our estates team on the ‘Estates Team’ page of our website for more information.