Originally published on fwtx.com on September 12, 2022
BY: KATHY CHRISTOFFEL, CTFA
Market President, Argent Trust-Fort Worth Market
None of us are going to live forever — and yet, it can be surprisingly challenging to convince some people to get started setting up a will.
Dying without a will, or having a serious accident in which you almost die, can cause a difficult situation for your descendants and may lead to decisions being made that differ from your wishes.
It’s not that the average person doesn’t realize the importance of getting their affairs in order, but they often don’t know where to start. By following these steps and working with your financial professional and a qualified attorney, you can create security for yourself and your loved ones.
1| Confirm what you own
Ask yourself if you really own everything you think you do — or if there are co-owners you might not be thinking about. Perhaps you bought your house with a now ex-spouse, but the deed hasn’t been updated. Or maybe you think you’re just a signer on your mom’s bank account, but are actually a joint owner. Investigate any areas of ownership where you’re not 100% certain.
2| Decide where your assets should go
While many people pass their assets down to their family members, others want the majority of their assets to go to a cause they support. When my clients aren’t sure where they want their money to go after they’re gone, we can generally come up with deeper ideas to guide them to an answer that feels right for them.
3| Consider special situations
Depending on who you want to give assets to, there might be some complex aspects of creating a will that require a trust or another specialized financial instrument. For instance, a person with special needs might have their Medicaid or other benefits jeopardized if they were to receive a large amount of money outright. Make sure that you discuss any situations like this with your financial professional.
4| Get a qualified attorney
While we don’t practice law at Argent Trust Company, we have well-established connections with experienced attorneys around the country and can make a referral. Throughout the planning process of setting up a will, we also make it a point to stay as involved as our clients want us to be.
When it comes to setting up a will, drafting the actual document can be easy; initiating conversations with your spouse, your children and your parents can be more challenging. But remember that even after your will is drafted and signed, you can still modify as needed.
How Heritage can help
Our advisors at Heritage have deep experience in wills and estate planning and can assist you in making important end-of-life decisions. To learn more, reach out to one of our professionals at 877-887-8899.