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Wills have limitations to their power

It is common knowledge that nearly every adult should have some sort of proper will. Wills help you make your end-of-life wishes known and can protect your family from a lengthy mess that drains away resources and helps property pass from from one individual to another efficiently. However, there are some things you should not attempt to use a will to do.

If you think that a will can completely get around the probate process, this is sadly misguided. A will does not evade the probate process, but merely directs the court as to how your property should be divided. As long as your will does not conflict with the law, and no one challenges the will successfully, the court will divide your property as you lay out in your will. However, the probate process does still occur. If you hope to circumvent probate entirely, you might consider placing your assets in a well-crafted trust and working with an estate planner to build an estate plan to work around as much of the probate process as you can.

A will won't help you avoid estate taxes if you are subject to them. While there are certain procedures you might use to minimize or avoid estate taxes, simple writing a will does not accomplish this.

There are many reasons to create a will, but it is only one of many estate planning tools one can use to provide for the ones you love. A will is a powerful document made all the more powerful when used properly. If you are ready to create a will that truly preserves your wishes, an experienced attorney can help you create a document that protects your rights and preserves your legacy.

Source: FindLaw, "What Not To Include When Making a Will," accessed June 09, 2017

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