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Preparing a will as part of estate planning

04/23/2015 | Estate Planning

California residents who are over the age of 18 may want to consider writing a will. A will is a part of most estate plans, and without one, the state often decides how an individual’s assets are distributed after their death. A will appoints beneficiaries who will receive those assets, and those beneficiaries might be friends, family or organizations, such as charities.

will also needs an executor. This can be a friend, relative, attorney, financial planner or some other professional. The executor inventories the estate, distributes assets, and pays debts and taxes. This may be a complex job depending on the estate, so an individual appointing an executor may want to ask the person if they are willing to complete the task.

It may be worthwhile for some people to consider a social media will. This document often concerns an individual’s online profiles and emails, and it often appoints another person to handle them. In order to create a social media will, it is necessary to review the terms of the websites in question. Some have procedures for memorializing a profile or other actions.

Finally, a will should be regularly reviewed and updated. As peoples’ lives change through births, deaths and other family, beneficiaries and asset distribution may need to change as well.

Individuals who are estate planning might benefit from consulting on attorney for guidance on preparing a will and other documents. While a will may be sufficient in many circumstances, individuals might have other needs that mean a different estate planning tool might be helpful. For example, a trust can allow assets to be distributed over time or according to certain criteria.