Wills are the Cornerstone of an Estate Plan

A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate and the care of your minor children after your death. A last will and testament is among the most important legal documents that you will ever sign. Wills are the foundation of your estate plan and help protect your family

When you start your estate planning process and create a last will and testament, you’ll be able to designate how your estate should be divided, determine who will receive your personal property, set up trusts, and designate a guardian for your minor children. A little planning now is all it takes.

If you do not write a last will, the distribution and management of your estate will be controlled by state law. A last will and testament and estate planning will ensure that your estate is handled the way you want it handled.

When People Don't Have Wills

If you die without a will, the state will decide how your estate's property is distributed. This is known as the law of intestacy. Through these laws, the state, in effect, draws your will for you – determines "who gets what" – according to what seems most equitable for the greatest number of its citizens.

The problem is that the laws relating to intestacy are designed for general application and rarely suit individual circumstances.

By failing to prepare wills, people surrender the right to distribute their property and allow the state to assume that task.

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ABATEMENT Cutting back certain gifts under a will when it's necessary to meet expenses, pay taxes, satisfy debts or take care of other bequests that are given priority under law or under the will. ADE