Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Importance of your Will; Your Estate and Death

Your will may be the most important paper you will ever sign. It is one of your few opportunities to direct the distribution of your property amongst your survivors. Its significance depends less on the size of your estate than the kind of assets you leave and on matters you want taken care of after your death. It tells your family, business associates and the state whom you want to administer your property and other assets, to whom you want to leave them and the conditions under which people you name are to receive them. It also concerns such vital family matters as who will be the guardian of your minor children.

If you die without a will you may saddle your family with needless work and trouble, heavy administrative expenses that a will may prevent and very likely estate tax liabilities that eat up much of the money otherwise available for your family's support. For example if you or your wife fail to execute a will, the survivor might be deprived of the estate tax advantage of a full marital deduction.

You are said to die testate if you have left a valid will and intestate if you have not. A testator is a man who leaves a will; a testatrix is a woman who leaves a will. All your assets, including money owed to you at your death- less your debts and expenses- constitute your estate. If you die intestate, your assets must be distributed according to the intestate distribution laws of the state you live in and these laws may not conform to your wishes.

Under the laws of one state your wife would only get one third of your assets and your infant child two thirds. Another state's laws would divide your property equally between your wife and your parents. The best way to make sure that your wishes are carried out and that each of your loved ones is fairly protected is to leave a will.

If you need a will made, contact

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