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I'm happy to report we've made some real progress with one of our big goals this year.
Last week we consulted with a local attorney about getting our wills created and we discussed our wishes on estate planning and guardianship.
This is something that had to get done (and done right) and I'm a bit embarrassed that we took so long to get to it.
Part of my problem was that I was worried about finding the perfect lawyer and used that as an excuse to not get this important stuff done.
With some encouragement from fellow personal finance bloggers, I consulted the NC bar site and used their referral service to find a specialist.
Why Wills Need to Be on Your To-Do List
Sometimes we can over complicate things or have some sort of perfection paralysis.
We had a bit of both with getting our wills done. Since becoming paraents we knew we wanted to make sure that everything properly done, we decided to work with an attorney.
Sounds good right? Yes, but tehn that somehow triggered this idea that we needed to have every single thing done before we saw one.
The problem wasn't that we wanted to have some idea of a plan before spending money on an attorney. It was using this meeting as an excuse to push it off until we had gotten things perfect.
Finally, though, we knew we needed to just go ahead and meet up with one.
The appointment itself went pretty smoothly. It helped that my husband and I discussed some of our big wishes.
What is nice about working with a qualified attorney is that you can sit down with them and go over different scenarios and they can explain all of your options.
We were getting educated about our specific options and had chance to go over the pros and cons with an expert.
So if you're waiting until everything is in place and you know what exactly you're doing before speaking with attorney, let me you – go ahead and make that an appointment.
With the right lawyer, you'll be walked through the essentials and get an insightful sounding board to make the best decisions for you and your family.
We learned quite a bit about what a will can cover and what it can not.
Basically a will:
- Name executor(s): Besides naming each other as executor, we also named back-ups should we both die. It's an important decision and we listed people with whom we have complete trust. We also asked them if they'd be up for the task, which they said they would.
- Name guardians for our daughter: This by far was the most important part to us.
I learned that a will doesn't cover some things, including the proceeds of our life insurance policies and IRAs that we've already named a beneficiary.
Much of the process was simply getting everything down in writing.
In case one of us dies, the other is formally named as the beneficiary. Should both of us die, we named beneficiaries the primary,of course, being our baby girl.
Naming Guardians for Our Little One
For us, naming the guardians for our little one was the biggest decision in this process.
It was something we really discussed (you can click on the link above and see our thought process on picking a guardian) and make sure we and they were both happy with.
We're happy that our first choice accepted and we wanted to make sure that our will reflected our intentions to help make the difficult transition a bit easier for everyone involved should both of us die. That meant leaving a small lump sum to take care of any financial expenses with the guardianship.
Thoughts on Wills, Guardianship, and Estate Planning
For those who are parents, how many of you have updated your will and financial planning for your little ones?
How was the process for you? Did you go with a local attorney or did you do it yourselves?