Your Last Will and Testament (also referred to simply as a ‘Will’) allows you to do several things. First, you can specify how you want your estate to be distributed upon your death. You can divide your estate among a number of people equally, give everything to one person or a charity, or whatever else you choose to do with your property.
Your Will also appoints someone as the Executor of your estate. This is the person who will be in charge of gathering all of your assets and debts together, notifying creditors of your death, and distributing your assets according to your instructions in the Will.
If you do not currently have a Will or Living Trust, having a Will prepared is better than having nothing. Failure to have even a Simple Will can result in massive confusion.
Your heirs will not have any direction and can become embroiled in arguments and disputes that can make a difficult time even worse.
By having a Will, you provide your family and heirs with some guidance regarding your wishes and how to proceed with settling your affairs. The disadvantage of having a Will only can be seen when comparing a Will to a Living Trust.
If you pass away without a Will or Living Trust, your estate goes through the probate process before your heirs receive your estate. Having a Will does not prevent your estate from going through the probate process. Establishing a Living trust and transferring your assets into the Trust during your lifetime will allow those assets to be transferred to your heirs without probate.
If you own assets in your name alone, they may pass from you to the people you love, as long as you leave a Will. Without a Will, your assets pass according to the State’s rules, also known as intestacy. The State may not pass your assets to the people you care about. You should be sure.
Also, you should know that…
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