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How To Protect Your Assets With A Last Will And Testament

Aug 17, 2007
To ensure the safe passage of the estate of the deceased to their successors, it is wise to use a professional quality last W]will and testament. This legal document holds the final instructions of the person making it, to set forth the means by which to distribute the person's property in the event of his death.

Every state has enacted its own laws that have to be followed and whatever necessary requirements are contained in such laws shall form the basis for drawing out the will. The maker of a will should have attained at least the age of 18 years or be older. He or she must be sane and in control of his or her faculties and must not be making the will under any erroneous or destructive influences.

The last will and testament is revokes all previous related agreements and specify the manner in which all properties and assets of the maker are to be disposed of. The document must be in writing, signed, and witnessed in a manner specified by applicable laws of the state. The maker of the will should be in good health without being under any emotional strain. A wise person will not leave the making of a will for some calamity to befall him or her and will have thought out the contents of the will well in advance and have drafted the document under normal circumstances.

A will can be made as often as one wants but the last will and testament is the one that the maker deems to be final. In case the maker only wants to add some legal clauses or wishes to amend the will, this is done through a "Codicil".

The last will and testament will specify whether the person making it is married or not and whether or not he has any children. In case the person is married, the agreement will specify the name of the spouse as well as all the names of the children that the person has. In this manner, the identities of all family members are established.

To establish how all necessary expenses related to funerals, personal debts as well as inheritance taxes, transfer taxes and estate taxes are to be paid, the agreement may ask an independent executor to pay such expenses out of the amounts remaining from the estate.

Furthermore, the document will then state how the estate of the deceased will be disposed of. This may include the names of persons in an order that specifies that if the first person so specified should fail to survive the maker of the will then such estates shall pass on to a second person, who, if he fails to survive the maker, will cause the estate to devolve on to a third person.

In addition, the last will and testament may instruct through a "Letter to the Independent Executor" as to how the personal and other household items are to be disposed off.

The document may also state how to treat those successors who contest the arrangement. It can clearly state that such successors be debarred from obtaining any proceeds from the estate of the deceased. Such a change shall be signed and attested as well as witnessed by at least one witness.
About the Author
Wade Anderson is a CPA and operates DigitalWorkTools.com

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