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Getting started



(Getting Started on a Will)

"Ok, you've convinced me that I need a will! What do I do now?"

There are many important issues to consider when drafting your will, but you can get started right now by following a few simple steps:

  1. Get organized. Gather all of your important documents in one place. You may be surprised to find out how much you actually have. Write down a list of all of your valuable property, and be specific. Instead of writing "Car", list "2005 Saturn SL2, VIN #0123456789012."
  2. Set your priorities. Make a list of all the people and organizations that you want to remember in your will by leaving them some of your property. If you plan to make a charitable bequest, be sure to get the organization's legal name, current address, and whenever possible, its tax-exempt ID number.
  3. Review your beneficiary designations. Review all your checking accounts, savings accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement plans, pension plans and any other assets for which you may have made a beneficiary designation, and make any necessary updates or changes.
  4. Think about guardians. If you have minor children or an older parent or other adult whom you care for, be sure to appoint a guardian for them in your will.
  5. Choose an executor. Select a person you trust to serve as your executor. You may want to pick one or two alternates in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to serve.
  6. Hire an attorney. Ask friends and colleagues for referrals, and call for an initial consultation to find someone with whom you are comfortable. Ask about fees in advance, and tell your lawyer whom you wish to benefit and what you wish to accomplish in drafting your will.
  7. Review and update your will on a regular basis. The saying goes: "Life is what happens when we are making other plans." Our lives are constantly changing — your will needs to be updated periodically to reflect such life changes as:
    1. The death of a beneficiary
    2. Marriage, divorce or remarriage
    3. The birth of a child or grandchild
    4. An inheritance
    5. The purchase of a new asset such as life insurance, a new home, etc.
    6. A bequest to an organization to commemorate a loved one or to recognize the good work of a favorite charity

Making a will doesn't have to be difficult, and having a properly drafted will provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones. If we can help you in any way, or to learn more about how a bequest can benefit NPCA, please feel free to give us a call at 1.877.468.5775, send an email message, or submit a personal illustration form.