The basic instrument of estate planning is the will, a legal document in which you state who will receive what portion of your property, as well as when and under what conditions they will receive it. A will also allows you to designate a guardian for your children and an executor or personal representative who carries out the terms of the will. If you die intestate-without a will-the executor and guardian are appointed by the court, and your assets are disposed of according to state law.

In all states, however, at least part of your estate will go to your children, and ,n many states they will receive more than your spouse. A will that is complete and current, on the at names all those legally entitled to a share in your estate, accounts for assets, and pays all creditors, will ensure that the administration of your estate proceeds quickly according to your intentions. Keeping those close to you informed of your plans, especially if you’re financial or family situation changes, can help avoid litigation, costly delays, and unnecessary conflict.


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