- 1). Make a list of people you trust who could act as executor of your estate after you pass away. It is the executor's job to distribute assets according to your will and the regulations for your jurisdiction, so he will make sure that money in your estate gets to your children. Make a second list of people who could act as trustees if desired on particular accounts. If you have minor children or want to ensure that they use the money in a certain way, the trustee can oversee the accounts and restrict the child's access.
- 2). Weigh the pros and cons of selecting each individual on your lists. Select the people you feel would execute your estate and individual accounts in the best way.
- 3). Notify your selected executor and trustees of your intent and formally ask them to accept the duties. Being a trustee or executor is a big responsibility and takes time, and some people may decline your invitation. Notifying the executor and trustee candidates also allows them to plan actively with you and to learn about the necessary paperwork.
- 4). Set up any trusts you want to create with your trustees. The exact process for this depends on your jurisdiction, the account involved and which institution oversees the account.
- 5). Write your will with the help of an attorney who specializes in estate planning. Indicate exactly how you want your money to be distributed among your children. Have your attorney send copies of the will to all parties involved.
- 6). Notify all institutions involved with your estate of your will provisions in writing through certified mail. If you do not have trusts for certain accounts, tell the institutions that you want your children as "pay on death" beneficiaries. Provide the name of the estate executor you've selected, the full names of the children, the account numbers and any stipulations you might have on the withdrawal of funds, such as completing college or reaching a specific age.
- 7). Eliminate as many debts you have as possible. Even though you may have a will, creditors and lenders have a right to make a claim against your estate if you owe when you pass away. The executor has to address these debts before she can distribute remaining assets to your children, so the more debts you eliminate, the more money will go to your children.
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