If you have a will, you can designate who will act as executor of your estate in probate.
If you have a will, you can specify that your executor serves without necessity of a bond.
If you have a will, you can provide for the independent administration of your estate. That means your executor does not have to get court approval for what is done during the administration of your estate.
If you have a will, you can make specific bequests of items of your property to certain individuals.
If you have a will, you can name the guardians of your minor children in case of the death of you and your spouse.
If you have a will, by using a trust, you can delay receipt of part or all of your property until the heir reaches a certain age.
If you have a will, you can leave property to a charity.
If you have a will, you can leave property to people who are not your immediate relatives.
If you have a will, you control who gets what.
If you have a will, your estate can avoid a costly proceeding to determine heirship. That is a probate proceeding where, besides paying the probate lawyer, the estate has to pay a lawyer for the "unknown heirs."
If you have a will, you can make it "self-proving." With a self-proven will, it is not necessary to produce a witness in court to prove the will was executed with the requisite formalities. This may be important if the witnesses to the will are deceased or cannot be found at the time of probate.
If you have a will, it can provide for the transfer of titled property, such as real estate, so the chain of title is not clouded.
At the same time you have a will done, you can also request that the lawyer prepare a living will and a medical power of attorney to govern your medical care should you be in a coma or otherwise unable to express your wishes to the doctors.
If your total assets are more than $1,000,000, you should see a specialist in probate law to discuss estate planning to reduce the tax bite on your estate. A small amount spent on estate planning can save your estate thousands of dollars in taxes.
Written by Donald Ray Burger, Attorney at Law
Last revised: June 15, 2008
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