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The Last Will and Testament is probably the most famous of all the estate planning documents because it is featured as the focal point in media after a person dies. While we have already mentioned in the Trust section that a trust is better that a will, a will is still a valid part of every estate plan.If you have not done any planning a will is important because you are making your wishes known. The will does have to go through probate court but at least you are not leaving it up to the state law to determine who will inherit your assets.
The most important reason to do a will is to name a guardian of your minor children and a backup or two. Letting anyone petition the court to say that they want to raise your kids is a scary thought especially when the Judge has a wide discretion of who they can allow to take your kids. You want to consider putting in your will a person who thinks the same way you do. Would treat your kids the same way you would. Lives the same lifestyle as you, including, health, fitness, religious beliefs, work ethic etc. You also want to consider where they live and if they move often. Will they allow your family to visit (good or bad thing). Once again make the decision and don’t leave it in the discretion of the court.
Even with our clients who have trusts to avoid probate we always do a will for them. On top of the guardians of minor children issue, the will acts as a backup to the trust. If you forget to put an asset into the Trust or if you have everything in the trust and then die while you are supposed to get an inheritance then we would be in probate court. While sometimes it can’t be avoided, the will in this instance is what is referred to as a pour-over will. This pour over last will and testament simple says that all of the assets of the estate are to be given over to the trust and distributed according to those terms. This still gives the trust validity, the terms and carried out correctly and because the trust is the only name heir, there still remains some anonymity with the trust never becoming full public record.
The last way in which a will is still relevant is that you can specify what your final burial or cremation wishes are by a document that can be enforced by a judge instead of relying
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