Estate Planning Lawyer
A will is an essential aspect of estate planning to ensure you have control over the distribution of your assets after death. Your estate planning lawyer will need these twelve documents to draft your will.
1. Birth Certificate
A birth certificate is proof of your identity. You can also use a passport, driver’s license, or other government-issued identification but be sure to provide the original and not a copy.
2. Proof of Address
A separate document is necessary to prove your residency, even if your address is on your identification document. An original copy of any of the following will verify your address:
- Recent utility bill
- Driver’s license
- Property deed
- Home tax assessment statement
- Rental lease
3. Marriage License and Divorce or Death Certificate
If you are married, your spouse will usually receive the entirety of your estate; however, it may be necessary to update your will if you remarry. A new marriage license or divorce, or death certificate will reflect your current status.
4. Burial Plot Deed
The owner of a grave has the authority to open it. Therefore, your will should include a copy of your burial plot deed and designate to whom you will transfer the title. That person will become the new owner who can arrange to open the plot upon your death.
5. Statement of Funeral Wishes
Providing instructions regarding your funeral preferences and how to handle your remains can give you some control over your final arrangements and lighten your loved ones’ burden.
6. Financial Asset Documents
All documents that identify your financial assets will help to distribute them to your beneficiaries. For example, your will can include copies of bank and investment account statements, stocks, bonds, and other financial certificates.
7. Tangible Possessions
A will is a perfect place to designate exactly how you want to distribute your physical belongings, including specific jewelry pieces, furnishings, artwork, vehicles, homes, or musical instruments.
8. List of Debts
You may want to provide a list of debts you want your heirs to pay from your assets before receiving the remainder. These may include your mortgage, a home equity loan, or a car loan.
9. Life Insurance Policy
Although it is not necessary to include a copy of a life insurance policy in a will, doing so will make beneficiaries aware of it and help them access it.
10. A Contact List
Documenting the contact information for an executor, beneficiaries, and representatives from charitable organizations will ensure efficient asset distribution.
Contact an estate planning lawyer to learn more about how a will can help you provide for your loved ones.