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    Basic estate planning protects individual and legacy


    Will accomplishes plenty

    A will accomplishes a number of objectives. First, it provides direction for the distribution of assets to family and other beneficiaries upon death. An attorney can customize its provisions to meet your needs. You appoint a personal representative (known as an “executor” or “executrix”) to account for your assets, liabilities, final expenses, any taxes due, and distribution of remaining assets.

    A will also is the only way to designate a guardian for minor children. Should something happen to you, a judge still must approve this appointment, but at least you have expressed your wishes through this document. If you have minor children, it is wise to include a trust to manage assets for them–at least until they reach age 18. 

    A will must be filed in probate court to be effective. Probate is a judicial process for managing your assets if you become incapacitated and for transferring your assets in an orderly fashion upon death.

    The court oversees payment of liabilities and the distribution of assets. Generally, your executor will need to employ an attorney. Since a will does not take effect until death, it cannot provide for management of your assets if you become incapacitated.


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