Your Will Means Your Way - A Look at the Most Overlooked and Undervalued Estate Planning Tool

June 26, 2006

JADweb

Your Will means your way, and this is a powerful reality. We’ve all heard a horror story from a family member or friend, or have lived through one ourselves involving a friend or family member’s estate gone awry.

It usually begins with something like "My friend’s aunt Mabel on her father’s side died without a will, and everything went to her nephew who she stopped talking to years ago...the nephew that never called, never visited and never lifted a finger to help poor Mabel. Now he’s inherited all the money, and the family is livid."

Unfortunately, no matter how many stories we hear or problems we live through, many people still do not have their estate plans completed and have not executed their own Last Will and Testament. But be reminded that the Will is one of the most important estate planning documents you should have in your possession. In today’s world of joint ownership, trust documents and deeds with life estate interest, the Will is often under-valued in terms of its true significance in estate planning.

By definition, a Will is a legal instrument, executed with the formalities of state statutes, by which you make a disposition of your real and personal property after your death. The Will is by its very nature both ambulatory and revocable during your lifetime. When drafted in conformity with very specific formal requirements it is a document that allows distribution of your assets (estate) after death in accordance with your wishes. The assets subject to the provisions of a Will are the assets owned solely by an individual. A Will does not cover jointly owned assets and/or assets that do not have a named beneficiary...

You may read more at the link below.

by: Julie A. Dialessi-Lafley, Esq.

Healthcare Ledger
June 2006

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