Will and EstateWill and Estate

A Will is a legal document that decides what happens to your Estate once you pass away. Your Estate can be in form of houses, land, children, money, business interests, investments, etc. It is everything you own and any responsibility in your power. You will want to think carefully before deciding how your Estate will be divided up and whom you want to assume power of attorney over your Estate. Here is a more in-depth explanation as to what a Will and Estate is:

Will

Your Will is a review of all your assets. This includes any investments you have made, accounts you have, insurance policies, real estate, and any business interests. After reviewing your assets, you will then decide whom you want to inherit your physical assets and whom you want to take over your business interests in the event you become incapacitated (also known as a medical proxy). Discuss these plans with the future heirs of your Estate before, during, and after completion of your Will.

Estate

Your Estate consists of all property of any kind that was in your name only, with no provision on the title of ownership for others to own it. The larger your Estate, the more complicated the process becomes.Protecting your Estate from tax collectors will require you to have an attorney. The attorney will help you keep your plans current with documents and give the necessary advice to you and your family to make informed decisions. Taxing can become very confusing and varies from state to state, so having a lawyer’s advice is a reliable and responsible choice.

  • Estate Planning Checklist
    Prepare for End-of-Life
    List of steps for creating a set of instructions on how you want to distribute your money and property when you die.
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Why Write a Will and Plan your Estate?

It is important to write a last Will and Testament to ensure the person(s) you choose to inherit your net worth will inherit it. If you fail to create a last Will and Testament, the state(s) where you own property will decide what happens to your Estate. The beneficiaries will not be of your choosing and your Estate may end up in the wrong hands. Having a trust fund is not enough, since you will need to decide who gets what outside of that trust fund. Dying without a Will, which is known as “intestate,” can be costly to your heirs.

The only way to confirm your property will go to where you choose is to create a Will and Estate plan. An attorney can help you write one, or you can write one yourself. Some people choose to write their last Will and Testament by themselves to avoid attorney fees, but sometimes choosing an attorney can make the process easier for you and your family members.

If you have young children under the age of 18, you will want to have a Will to arrange guardianship for your children if you pass away while they are minors. If you do not have a Will that arranges guardianship, then the guardianship of your children will go to the state.

The most responsible thing to do is to set aside an appropriate time to create a last Will and Testament in advance. Having your family in the know about your wishes and decisions will dissipate any problems that will arise if you pass away and do not have a Will or Estate plan. Read the articles below to learn more about planning your Will and Estate.

Recent Will and Estate Articles

Want more information on financial planning for end-of-life? Read all of our will and estate articles.

Learn more about writing a will and deciding who will be the beneficiaries of your estate.

Will and Estate Topics

A will is a legal document that lets you say how you want your property dealt with when you die. Once you die, everything you own and owe, is called your estate. A person will also decide on an advance health care directive, which is a set of written instructions that describe your preferences regarding medical treatment. The person named as the executor will handle the execution of the will and the probate process. Read the topics below to learn more about all will and estate planning topics.

Legal and Financial

Articles on writing a will that gives directions for the distribution of his property at death.

Executor and Probate

Articles on how an executor carries out the directions of a will and the probate process.

Advance Medical Directives

Articles on creating a living will, health care proxy and power of attorney.

What Should your Will and Estate Plan Cover?

Every state is different regarding laws of Estate plans. It is important for you to be aware of what is allowed and/or disallowed in your respective state. It is easy to write a Will and Estate plan yourself. Using the following steps will help you create your Will as efficiently and simple as possible:

Your Information: This includes your basic information, such as your name, address, and the date you signed your Will, and should include, in writing, that this is “your last Will and takes the place of any prior Will” that you have previously made. Your identity needs to be made clear, so include your social security number or your date of birth.

Your Executor: An executor is a person who will carry out your wishes once you are gone. Naming the executor in your Will and giving him or her the right to any and all estate ownerships, then having that person sign your Will, will alleviate your Will getting into the wrong hands after you have passed away. Your executor can also bring your Will to an attorney after your death, if needed.

Your Assets: It is important to decide how you want your assets to be distributed. The executor(s) takes on the responsibility of distributing your assets after your death. Write down in your Will your exact wishes and the distribution process. Having your executor understand how to distribute your assets after you have passed away will eliminate any future problems. It is important to have them understand this before they sign your Will and Testament. It is very important to choose the person you trust the most with your inheritance after you have passed away.

Guardianship: If you have children under the age of 18, either you alone, or you and your spouse, will need to appoint a guardian(s) for your child in the event you and your spouse die at the same time. Although the court holds the final decision, your wishes as to whom your children will rely on for support are factored into the court’s decision.

 

Being prepared and having your family prepared for your death through a last Will and Estate is one of the most important and responsible decisions you can make. To avoid any added costs, disputes, or confusion, it is absolutely necessary to have a Will and Estate plan.

Writing one your self is easy, but it is important that it be written, and that at least one witness signs for it. When your death comes without you having a Will and Estate Plan, the state will not take into consideration any of you or your family’s “word of mouth” wishes. It must be in writing. Any funeral director, attorney, or software program can help you with writing of your Will and Estate.

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