Why do you need a will? 

A will is needed to transfer your probate assets to your intended beneficiaries (i.e. loved ones, charitable organizations); to name an executor to gather your assets, pay your debts, file your  income and/or estate tax returns, to sell any property which needs to be sold, and to distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries; and, if necessary,  to provide for estate tax planning.

What should be included in your will? 

Your will should revoke any prior wills, provide for the disposition of your assets upon your death, appoint an executor to manage your estate, appoint a trustee for any trusts for young or incapacitated beneficiaries, and appoint a guardian for any minor children.

Are there other ways of planning for the transfer of your estate upon your death? 

Yes.  You can plan for the transfer of nonprobate assets such as life insurance, retirement plans, and multiparty bank accounts by naming a specific beneficiary.  You should coordinate the transfer of such nonprobate assets with your plan for transferring probate assets contained in your will.


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