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Last Will and Testament

What is a Last Will and Testament? Who Needs a Will, and How Does it Fit into an Estate Plan?

A Last Will & Testament is a very basic form of Estate Planning. It is a legal document directing the distribution of assets owned by the Testator (the person making the Will) after death, and establishing who is in charge of handling the Testator’s affairs after death. A Last Will and Testament also can be utilized to name a guardian for minor children, and to specify final wishes (burial, cremation, etc.) There are very strict formalities for establishing a Will. The document must contain certain precise language, and have certain formalities in executing (signing) the document, including signing the document before a notary and two witnesses.

Every adult (over age 18), should have at least a basic will. Normally, this document will be changed and updated many times over one’s lifetime. For an individual who has a living trust, a special type of will known as a “pour-over” will is part of the estate plan.

Last Will and Testament vs Living Trust

A Last Will and Testament is not to be confused with a Living Trust. Many people hold a very common misconception that if an individual establishes a will, the assets will simply pass to the heirs automatically after death. This is not the case. A will simply directs the court in the probate process. If probate avoidance is a goal, a living trust and pour-over will may be the better methodology.

If you don’t have a last will and testament, or if you are not sure if you are protected by a living trust, please contact us to request an estate planning worksheet, so that we can evaluate your needs, and see what type of estate plan is best for you.

Fill out this form to request an estate planning worksheet.

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