Drafting a Will: Some Considerations

No two people’s lives are the same. Our family circumstances, financial circumstances, and desires for our families and finances are unique to each one of us. An estate plan should likewise be unique to your circumstances, often starting with a will. A will can address a broad array of topics and issues. ┬áDepending on your circumstances, an introduction to some of the following topics may help you as you work with your estate planning attorney to formulate, draft, and execute your own unique estate plan:

1. Identity of the Testator: Signatures

2. Capacity: Delusional Testator

3. Revocation of Prior Wills

4. Debts and Creditors

5. Surviving Spouse: Pre-Marital Wills

6. Disinheritance

7. Funeral or Burial provisions

8. Distribution of Real Estate

9. Distribution of Personal Property

10. Types of Testamentary Gifts

11. Ways a Testamentary Gift can fail: Ademption, Abatement, and Lapse

12. Renunciation/Disclaimer

13. Testamentary Gifts to non-U.S. Citizens

14. Charitable Gifts

15. Annuities

16. Beneficiaries: Spouse, Adopted Children, Ex-Spouse, Non-Marital Children

17. The Residuary Estate

18. The Life Estate: One Form of Limiting a Gift

19. Testamentary Trusts

20. Planning Care for a Minor

21. Provisions in Case of Disaster: Financial Concerns, Medical Concerns

22. Avoiding Probate Disputes

23. Conditional Gifts

24. In Case a Portion of the Will is Considered Invalid

25. Tax Planning: Inheritance Taxes, Basis in Inherited Property

26. The Personal Representative

27. Administrative Provisions

28. Fiduciary Duties/Powers

29. Joint, Mutual Wills

30. Attestation

31. Execution of a Will

32. Duplicate Wills

33. Destruction of Prior Wills

34. Codicils

35. Periodically Reviewing the Estate Plan


Image by: Matt Carman