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The core document most often associated with the estate planning process is your will.

What happens if you die without a will?

If you die intestate (without a will), your particular state’s laws will determine who receives your property. Typically the distribution would be to your spouse and children, or if none, to other family members. These laws vary from state to state, and often reflect the legislature’s guess as to how most people would dispose of their estate, regardless of whether their plans reflect your actual wishes. A will allows you to alter the state’s default plan to suit your personal preferences.

What a will does

A will provides for the distribution of property owned by you at the time of you’re according to your wishes. Wills can be of various degrees of complexity and can be utilized to achieve a wide range of family and tax objectives. Wills can also enhance your support of religious, educational, and other charitable causes. Aside from providing for the intended disposition of your property to spouse, children, etc., there are a number of other important objectives that may be accomplished in your will.

You may designate a guardian for your minor child or children if you have survived the other parent-and, by judicious use of a trust and appointment of a trustee, eliminate the need for bonds and supervision by the court regarding the care of each minor child’s estate

You may designate an executor of your estate in your will and eliminate the need for a bond; in some states the designation of an independent executor will eliminate the need for court supervision of the settlement of your estate.

You may choose to acknowledge or otherwise provide for a child (e.g., stepchild, godchild, etc.) in whom you have an interest, an elderly parent, or other individuals.

If you are acting as custodian for the assets of a child or grandchild under the uniform gift (or transfers) to minors act, you may designate your successor custodian and avoid the expense of a court appointment.

To effectively prepare your will, knowledge of the consequences of each property interest and technique is required. For example, if you own property with another person as joint tenants with right of survivorship, that is, not as tenants in common, the property will pass directly to the remaining joint tenant upon your death and will not be a part of your probate estate. (It will, however, be a part of your taxable estate.) frequently, people (particularly in old age) will cause bank accounts or securities to be placed in the name of the owner with one or more children or trusted friends as joint tenants with right of survivorship. This is sometimes done as a matter of convenience to give the joint tenant continuing access to accounts to pay bills. The ownership of property in this fashion often leads to unexpected or unwanted results. Disputes, including litigation, are common between the estate of the original owner and the surviving joint tenant as to whether the survivor’s name was added as a matter of convenience and/or management or whether a gift was intended. The planning built into a well-drawn will may be partially or completely thwarted by an inadvertently created joint tenancy that passes property to a beneficiary by operation of law, rather than under the terms of the will.

Many of these problems are also applicable to institutional revocable trusts and “pay on death” forms of ownership of bank, broker, and mutual fund accounts and savings bonds. For these reasons, it is imperative that you speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. The law offices of bing bush, jr. can ensure your wishes are upheld

Whether you want to prepare your first will or you are interested in updating your estate plan or exploring trusts, an estate planning lawyer can help you tailor a plan to your needs.

At the law offices of bing bush jr., we tailor your last will and testament to address your individual circumstances and help you avoid potential problems or troublesome issues. We do this consistent with an asset review, including how your assets are titled and how you designate beneficiaries. For larger estates we emphasize saving federal estate taxes. With all clients, we use our experience to ensure your will achieves your wishes and makes estate administration easier for your loved ones. Call 800-745-9336 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.