Estate Planning

The following is an in depth review of a simple will. We have provided an analysis of the important provisions usually contained in a will, so that you can understand the impetus for each provision. It is expected that you will consult with an attorney before deciding to prepare your own will.

Remember, the end result of having a will should be considered by anyone who is drafting a will. Your will quite simply states in effect, "Please transfer my assets to the following people." The key to understanding wills and probate is understanding that you are not there to sign the title of each of your assets over to another person because you are no longer living.

First and foremost, the purpose for a will is to specify how you wish your estate to be distributed. For any property which you own, you can specify in your will who that property will be distributed to upon your death.

Having a valid will, but not engaging in proper estate planning, usually ends up costing your estate several years in probate court and several thousands of dollars in expenses and fees. Certainly, this is bad enough.

Generally, you can provide specific instructions on how you wish your property to be divided. One of the main rules however, is that you must own the asset in order to exert complete control over its distribution.

One clear thought to have in the front of your mind when you are preparing each provision of your will is this - have I created a will contest? That is, have I specified an act which is likely to lead to one or more of my relatives, or friends, or others to contest my will? Naturally, it is bad enough to be in probate court, probating your will.

Most people know that wills are legal documents that specify directions for the disposition of property after the death of the person who makes the will. Wills may also specify certain other instructions or wishes which can be followed by those people who are appointed to administer the estate of the person who dies.

Each state has a certain number of requirements that operate to specify how a valid will may be prepared and what steps should be followed to prepare a will which can be probated at a later date. The purpose of these seemingly strict rules is to ensure that the person creating the will follows certain formal requirements and appreciates the seriousness of the legal act they are performing.

There are three ways to distribute estates after you or a loved one passes away.

What happens if a person wishes to leave nothing to one of their heirs, e.g., one of their three sons? Many states' laws assume, in the absence of naming the son in the will, that the son was forgotten.


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