4 Steps to Your First Will

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1. Begin With the Basics

Start by getting organized: Outline your objectives, determine the value of your property, inventory your major assets, estimate outstanding debts, and prepare a list of family members and other beneficiaries to whom you want to pass assets. You'll also want to ask yourself these two questions:
  • How do I want to divide my assets among my family members, other loved ones and favorite causes?
  • Do I need to make special provisions for any of my heirs?
Read in-depth information about creating your first will.

2. Choose Guardians

If you have minor children or an adult child, a parent, or a spouse with special needs who is your dependent, you must think about who will care for them when you're gone. Talk to your proposed guardian ahead of time about what you are asking, and understand that if you don't name a guardian, the courts may end up doing it for you.

3. Choose an Executor

Your executor undertakes many important responsibilities, including:
  • Notifying all interested parties and agencies of your death.
  • Paying creditors and outstanding taxes.
  • Distributing your assets according to your will.
If you don't have a will, or if your will doesn't name an executor, the courts will appoint one.

4. Meet With an Estate Planning Attorney

To avoid trouble for your heirs, seek the counsel of an estate planning attorney to help record your wishes in a legally sound will.

Question MarkAt What Cost?
When drafting your will, you may spend a few hundred dollars or several times that amount depending on where you live. Whatever the going rate in your area, resist the "deal." Instead, select a qualified estate planning attorney who can help you save your estate money and eliminate heartache in the long run.

Learn how to prepare for this meeting with your attorney.

We're Here to Help

When drafting your will, we hope you'll support Gustavus Adolphus College by including a charitable bequest that will benefit our important cause after your lifetime. Just contact Jackie Peterson at 507-933-7543 or jpeters9@gustavus.edu if you would like more information about this flexible way to support our mission.

The official legal bequest language for Gustavus Adolphus College is: "I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP] give, devise and bequeath to Gustavus Adolphus College [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose [or specify purpose]."