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Understand the Importance of Wills and Probate Planning

A will is a legal document that indicates the way the state should distribute your assets upon your death. The legal term for someone who dies without a will is intestate. When someone dies intestate, or without a will, the state determines, based on specific state laws, which assets will go to which individuals, regardless of the intentions of the deceased. That is why it is so critical to have a will.

Having a will ensures that state law will not dictate the distribution of your assets, the custody of your children, or the care of those under your responsibility with special needs. A will also allows you to avoid having a court-appointed administrator and the associated costs.

The following are key terms related to wills that you should be familiar with:

  • Will: A legal document that transfers an estate after death.
  • Beneficiaries: People who receive the deceased’s property and assets.
  • Executor or personal representative: The person responsible for carrying out the provisions of the will.
  • Guardian: The person who cares for minor children of the deceased and manages the children’s property.


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