Having to make too many decisions can hold people up from taking any action. (This is why I sometimes leave the peanut butter aisle in Whole Foods empty handed: there are too many choices.) This can hold true for people thinking about doing their wills. I always try to start out with just a few decisions for my clients to make and then go from there.
Here are the basic decisions you’ll need to make in order for your attorney to draft the proper legal documents for you:
1. Who are the people that you would want to make health care decisions for you if you were unable?
2. Who are the people that you would want to make financial decisions for you if you were unable?
3. Who do you want taking care of your children if something were to happen to you?
4. Who do you want to receive your property after you pass away?
Those are the basic decisions. Once you have those made, if you want, you can move on to more complex decisions:
5. Do you want your children’s inheritance to have any kind of a age limit on it or restrictions on expenditures?
6. Are there family members with special needs that you want to make provisions for?
7. Are there charities that you want to remember in your will?
8. Do you want to make provisions protecting a spouse who may need nursing home care in the future?
9. Are you leaving a piece of property to multiple people and want to make provisions for its management?
10. How do you want to provide for different sets of children in a blended family?
You don’t need to know all of the answers to these before getting yourself to the lawyers office, but it is helpful to at least know some of the things you’ll need to consider as you plan for your future.