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Everybody Needs a Will

(also known as “Last Will and Testament”)

A will allows you to control what happens to your assets (money, investments, real estate, personal belongings, etc.) after you die. A will allows you to spell out who gets what (beneficiaries). It also allows you to name guardians for your minor children and appoint an executor to carry out your wishes. A will must go through a court supervised probate process, unless the value of the estate’s probate assets are below a certain minimum.

If you die without a valid will, the courts will distribute your property in accordance with your state’s laws. Without a will, or another type of properly executed guardian appointment document, the state will also be responsible for appointing a guardian for your minor children.

*State laws vary with respect to what constitutes a legally binding will. Many states require a will to be signed by two witnesses and notarized.