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Not having a will can delay distribution of assets

When a person only has a few relatives, and is on relatively good terms with all of them, they might think that a will isn't necessary. Some people might also think that people don't need wills unless they have a lot of assets to divide or a lot of money in financial accounts and elaborate estate plans. The truth is having a will can help people even if they don't have millions of dollars in the bank.

Wills can serve as a way for heirs to understand what they will get and help choose a person to handle the matters of a person's estate. A legal will would consist of the name of the maker of the will, how debts are to be paid, who the heirs are, an executor (the person who will handle the estate), guardians of minor children, and how funeral arrangements should be handled.

People who choose not to have a will, would likely have their assets distributed the way state laws and regulations call for. The state might also have the responsibility in appointing a guardian for any minor children. It is important that everyone has a will, even if they think their assets don't add up to much. Not only can it ensure your assets go where you would want them to go, but it can also help your will get through probate in an efficient manner.

Speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney can help a person understand the estate planning process and what documents might be needed to make sure your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. They can also suggest other documents that might help specify how your assets are to be used.

Source: The Advertiser, "Wills are always necessary, regardless of assets," Nov. 23, 2012

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