Are you aware that if you die without creating a last will and testament, you relinquish control over your assets and leave your family vulnerable to the whims of the state’s laws? Without a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to the state’s laws, disregarding your wishes entirely. Additionally, the state will appoint a guardian for your minor children and manage their inheritances, often leading to unfavorable outcomes.
Fortunately, with “Make Your Own Last Will and Testament,” you can prevent these scenarios and safeguard your family’s future. This book provides a thorough yet straightforward review of everything you need to consider when making a will. It also includes instructions and template forms that enable you to create your last will and testament.
By using this book, you can:
- Leave your assets to your loved ones
- Appoint guardians for your minor children
- Avoid intestacy
- Manage your children’s long-term inheritances
- Choose someone you trust to wrap up your affairs after you die
By making a will, you can significantly reduce legal and professional fees that would otherwise be associated with going through an intestate administration process. Moreover, the book provides a simplified probate process that streamlines the entire process.
Don’t let your family’s future hang in the balance – join thousands of other prudent Americans who have already safeguarded their estates with “Make Your Own Last Will and Testament.” With our years of estate planning experience, we’ve created a simple and practical book that will guide you through the entire process of making a will.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – About Wills
What is a Will?
Basic Components of a Will
Types of Wills
Testamentary Trust Wills
The Difference Between Wills and Living Wills
Do You Need a Lawyer to Make a Will?
Chapter 2 – Making a Valid Will
What is a Valid Will?
Age of Majority
Format of a Will
Signing of a Will
Having a Will Witnessed
Notarizing a Will
Chapter 3 – Wills and Intestacy
Why Everyone Needs a Will
Do I Have to Make a Will?
How Can a Will Save Me Money?
Intestacy and What Happens if You Don’t Make a Will?
Apportionment and Distribution of Assets on Intestacy
Intestacy and Same Sex Partners
Estate and Inheritance Taxes
Chapter 4 – Gifts and Beneficiaries
What is a Gift?
Specific Item Gifts
What is a Beneficiary?
Types of Beneficiaries and Hierarchy of Distribution
Specific Gift Beneficiary
Who May Not Be a Beneficiary?
Gifts to Spouses
Community Property States
Common Law States
Gifts to Minors
A Family Pot Trust
Gifts to Charities
Gifts to Witnesses
Releasing Someone from a Debt
Common Disaster and Simultaneous Death
Disinheriting Your Spouse
Disinheriting Your Child
No Contest Clauses
Challenging a Will
Reducing Challenges to a Will
Chapter 5 – Appointing Executors
What is an Executor?
Overview of Executors’ Duties
What Precisely Does an Executor Do?
Probate of an Estate
Grant of Probate
Who is Entitled to Act as an Executor?
Who Should be Your Executor?
Naming an Out-of-State Executor
Cash Reserves During Probate Administration
Chapter 6 – Guardians and Children
What is a Guardian?
Sole and Joint Guardians
Appointment of a Guardian
Who Can Be a Guardian?
Should I Appoint Guardians for My Minor Children?
Considerations When Choosing a Guardian For Your Child
What Happens When No Guardian is Named in Your Will?
Leaving an Inheritance for Children
Management of Children’s Property
What Happens Without Property Management?
Options for Property Management
Appointment of a Property Guardian
Uniform Transfer to Minors’ Act
Children’s and Family Pot Trusts
Whom Should You Choose as a Trustee?
Chapter 7 – Estate Planning
What is Estate Planning?
Last will and Testament
Revocable Living Trusts
Pay-on-Death and Transfer-on-Death Accounts
Probate Free Transfers of Assets
Reducing Taxes on Your Estate
Planning for Incapacity
Power of Attorney for Finance & Property
Advance Healthcare Directives
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Chapter 8 – Estate Taxes
Federal Estate Tax
State Death Tax
State Estate or Death Taxes: Paid by the Estate
State Inheritance Taxes : Paid by the Recipient of Property
Other Ways to Reduce Estate Taxes
Lifetime Gifts to Children and Grandchildren
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
Family Limited Partnerships
Qualified Family Owned Business (QFMOB)
Special Use Real Estate Valuation
Chapter 9 – Getting Organized and Making Your Will
Before You Start Check Out Some Online Will Packs
Appoint One or More Executors
Appoint a Testamentary Guardian for Your Minor Children
What If You Own Property Overseas?
Execute Your Will in the Prescribed Fashion
Consider Related Documentation
Cash Reserves During Administration
Location of Will
Chapter 10 – When Do I Need to Make My Will
The Power of Now!
What Happens Next?
Always one of two things!
So, When Should I Make a Will?
Chapter 11 – Changing Your Will
How to Change Your Will Using a Codicil
How Often Should I Review My Will?
Keep Your Will Updated!
Revocation of a Will
Appendix 1 – Glossary of Terms
Appendix 2 – Estate Planning Worksheet
Appendix 3 – Sample Wills
Appendix 4 – General Instructions for Completing Your Will
Appendix 5 – Specific Instructions for Completing Your Will
Appendix 6 – Self Proving Affidavit – Type 1
Appendix 7 – Self Proving Affidavit – Type 2
Appendix 8 – Additional Clauses
The following forms are included with this book:-
- Last Will & Testament for a single person with no children
- Last Will & Testament for a single person with children
- Last Will & Testament for a person who is married (or in a registered domestic partnership) without children
- Last Will & Testament for a person who is married (or in a registered domestic partnership) and has children
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- Advanced Features – Your documents will contain advanced lawyer-approved provisions not usually found in standard run-of-the-mill documents you find online.
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