Information Needed to Prepare Your Will – A Starting Point


Information Needed to Prepare Your Will – A Starting Point

How to Begin

For many people, thinking about writing a will can be difficult – and unpleasant!  But the first step is starting the process.  Frustrated clients often ask questions like these:

  • “Where do I begin?”
  • “What do I need to think about?”
  • “What information do I need to gather?”
  • “Why does the process seem so cryptic?”

With more than 65 years combined experience, we have some ideas to help you.

In the office, we have a questionnaire that helps clients begin organizing information needed by us to help create a will.  Many of the questions lead to follow up questions.  Then, that is when we meet and collect even more information in order to provide the best counsel possible.

To give you an idea of what we ask, here is a list of questions and requested information that help begin the process of crafting a will.  Legal documents require details, and we have tried to lay out some of the needed details in simple terms.  Take a look and let us know what you think!

Personal Information

Obviously we need information on you so we can identify you and include that information in the will.

  • Name on birth certificate
  • Any other names used
  • Physical Address and Mailing Address
  • Telephone Numbers
  • Date of Birth
  • Email
  • Social Security Number
  • Copy of Government Issued Photo Identification


Marital Information

We need marital information in community property states to address actions you wish to happen in your will.

  • Are you currently married?
  • Have you been married in the past?
  • Married more than once?  We will need name on birth certificate for each spouse and how the marriage ended.  For example: death, divorce, annulment.
  • If a spouse died while you were married to that spouse, then we would want to collect information on that death and any succession that was completed.


Information on Children

We collect information on your children so that information can be used in the preparation of your will.  Louisiana has specific laws for children and we want to address your wishes correctly.

  • Men – were you the father of any children?
  • Women – have you had any children?
  • If you have had children, then we will want more information.
  • Name of each child as shown on the birth certificate.
  • Contact information for each child – address, telephone numbers, emails
  • Last four of each child’s social security number
  • Date of birth for each child
  • Do any of them have mental or physical incapacity
  • The other parent’s name for each child
  • Have you ever adopted any children?
  • Have you ever been adopted?
  • If you have any children who have predeceased you, we will want to collect information on that child.



Property could make up a lot of your assets that you want to transfer to your loved ones.  It is important to have accurate information on your property to avoid problems in the future.

  • Do you own any real estate?  For example, your home, a portion of your parents’ home, a rental property owned by you and someone else.
  • If so, we will need municipal address and parishes where it is located and the name of any co-owners.
  • Do you have a checking account?  Savings account?  Money Market accounts? Are these owned separately?  Jointly?  If jointly, who is the other owner.
  • Do you own investments or securities (stocks, bonds, etc…)
  • Do you have retirement savings, like a 401(k), an IRA, pension?
  • Were you in the armed services?
  • Do you own a vehicle?  Individually or with someone else?


Other Family/Business

We try to look at all of your circumstances to provide our best advice.  The following questions will help us understand your situation more fully.

  • Do you have any brothers or sisters?  If yes, are they alive or deceased?
  • Any brothers or sisters who have died? Age at death?
  • Do you own your own business?  Or own an interest in another business venture?



An executor is the person who will close bank accounts, change utility names, transfer title to vehicles and generally work with an attorney to ensure all matters in connection with your succession are taken care of properly.

This topic can really cause people a lot of heartache.  People don’t want to choose one child over another or create hard feelings among children.  But, consider who has time to help, who lives nearby, who is responsible.  And, a lot of times people choose executors other than their children.  It is really personal.  If needed, we can help.

  • Who would you like to be your executor?
  • Please name a second person to act as your executor if the first person cannot serve as executor.


Burial and Other

  • Do you have any special burial/funeral requests?
  • Do you want to request a specific religious service for your funeral?
  • Do you want to be an organ donor?
  • Do you want to donate your body to science?



Who do you want to leave things to?

Please prepare a list of what you would like each of your legatees to receive.  This can be in proportions, like ½ to son, ½ to daughter, or it can be $25,000 to son, the rest to daughter, or you can itemize property going to each person.  However you want to make a list is great!

Great Starting Point – Ready for More?

This is a great place to start.  With answers to all of these questions, you will be prepared to continue on the journey of writing a last will and testament.  Get started and let us know if you would like to make an appointment once you have all of this information collected.  Also, the Ultimate Life Binder is an excellent resource to organize yourself and your family.


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