Preparing Your Will

Without a will, you have no say in how your assets are distributed or the guardianship of your children when you die.

A woman with long gray hair stares into the distance, thinking about what to write in her notebook, with a laptop also in front of her.

Wills are not just something older people have

We tend to think of wills as something that older people have. Anyone who has assets should have a will—and that includes even the youngest adults among us. Without a will, you have no say in how your assets are distributed, or even the guardianship of your children, when you die.

It is inexpensive to make out a simple will. You can do it yourself with online resources such as Nolo Press or Legal Zoom.

An attorney will cost more but may charge a fixed fee. In return, you simply supply all your documentation, and the attorney does the rest.

Either way, you will want to:

  • Choose an executor, who files your will with the court and ensures the terms of your will followed. This could be a family member, friend, or a professional fiduciary (a bank trust department or lawyer).
  • Choose a guardian, who will take care of any children under age 18.
  • Inventory your assets and accounts, and keep this list updated, helping you and your executor manage your estate. Include all financial accounts and co-owned assets.
  • Keep your beneficiary designations up-to-date on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other accounts. These take precedent over what you designate in your will.
  • Keep all your paperwork in a safe or safety deposit box and let your executor know its location.
  • Update your will over time to reflect new assets, changed relationships and economic circumstances, and changes in tax laws.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended for use as legal, accounting, tax or professional financial advice by People’s United Bank or any of the bank’s subsidiaries. Financial calculators are for illustrative purposes only. Always consult your legal, accounting and/or tax advisor to fully understand how information may or may not apply to your personal or business financial situation.

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