Before you meet with your attorney about your estate plan, here are four tips on how to help your lawyer and yourself. These tips will not only save you time, but also money.

Prepare an inventory of your estate. Since your estate plan will essentially direct the transfer of your assets at death, you should compile a list of all your holdings and obligations. This will take some time and force you to get all your records in order. But the process will be instructive for you and timesaving when your attorney begins to quiz you about these things. It’s easy to overlook some assets, so be thorough.

Select key people you want to involve. Who do you want to oversee the probating of your estate (your personal representative)? Who do you want to serve as the trustee of any trusts created by your will? Who do you want to be the guardians of any minor children you might have? And don’t forget about your power-of-attorney and health care documents. If possible, have two additional names for each position.

Decide what to give family members. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the whole process. You might want to discuss this subject with a trusted friend or personal advisor. And remember, with a will you can always change your mind later. The important thing is to at least get a plan in place for now.

Determine your charitable bequests. Which organization(s) do you want to support with gifts from your estate? Of course, we hope you will include the BHSU Foundation in your plans. Your estate gift will make a difference and help us continue educating students in the future.

For information on making a gift to the BHSU Foundation, contact Steve Meeker at or call (605) 642-6385.

This article is not intended for legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney.

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