Preparing Your Will: A Checklist

  • Robert S. Thomas,
  •   Estate Planning, Probate
  •   Comments Off on Preparing Your Will: A Checklist
Preparing Your Will A Checklist

A lawyer can help you plan your estate to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of. When I help a client prepare a will, I need complete and accurate information to provide the best legal guidance possible. For this reason, I’ve put together a checklist of information that you will need to gather for your consultation with you lawyer to prepare your will.


  • The names, dates of births, social security numbers, and locating information for you, your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, and any other descendants. If you do not have a surviving spouse or any children, bring information about your parents, siblings, and anyone else you wish to benefit from your estate.


  • If you have been married more than once, the name and information of prior spouses and children from those marriages.


  • Information regarding any real estate you own, including your primary residence, any vacation properties, and investment properties. This information includes the value of the properties, mortgage information, co-owners, and insurance.


  • Information regarding personal property, such as cars, boats, and motorcycles, and their VIN and serial numbers.


  • A detailed description of other property with an insured valuation, including art, jewelry, precious metals or gems, collectibles, or electronics.


  • A list of investments, such as stocks and bonds, and a detailed description of: (1) your brokerage firm account number(s); (2) stock and bond names; (3) the quantities owned; and (4) the current market valuations of each.


  • Relevant documents for any business interests that you own, or have an ownership share in.


  • Detailed information about your retirement accounts (pension, IRA’s, Roth IRA’s), stock options, and life insurance policies.


  • Any individual or joint bank accounts in your name, including checking accounts, savings accounts, deposit boxes, T-bills, or COD’s.


  • A complete list and detailed description of any trusts that you have established, that you benefit from, or that your spouse or children benefit from.


  • A comprehensive list of your debts and obligations, including secured and unsecured liabilities.


  • A copy of any previously created will, power of attorney, or living will.


  • The names and contact information of any individuals that you would want to be guardian of any of your minor children.


  • The name and contact information of any individual who you want to designate as executor of your will.


  • Thoughts about whether you want your loved ones to have access to their inheritance all at once or over time.


Be prepared and develop a list of any questions you have for your attorney. For example: “Can you tell me the benefits of establishing a trust?” There really are no dumb questions, as your lawyer wants to be sure that you are making fully informed decisions. Also bring a list of your goals, as the ultimate objective in estate planning is making sure that your loved ones are taken care of.


I am interested in helping you take care of your family. For more than two decades, I have helped clients plan their estates, represented them in complex tax situations, and resolved child custody and divorce matters. I can help you with all of your estate planning objectives. My team and I are compassionate, knowledgeable, and detail-oriented and want to work with you. Call my team at the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas. Our phone number is 847-392-5893 or you can visit our website to set up a consultation.

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