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Protect Yourself With a Last Will and Testament

Personal Finance
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As the new year is upon us and you are filing your taxes and reviewing your finances, are you looking at your will?

Have certain life events occurred this past year that revisions need to be made?

No one likes to think of the possibility of death, but a will is the only way to ensure your final wishes for your family and property are followed.

What is a will?

A will is a document that provides who is to receive your property at death, who will administer your estate, the appointment of trustees and guardians, if applicable, and other provisions.

A will is a gift you leave for your family or loved ones. It makes it easier for them to manage your estate.

What happens if I die without a will?

More than seven out of 10 Americans do not have a will in part because people assume lawyer services and fees are required, thus, making it expensive.

Without a will, property is distributed according to state laws or may be forfeited to the state entirely.

The state will decide what happens to your things (home, land, vehicles, furniture, and so on), your children, and your financial legacy (bank accounts, benefits of insurance policies, and so on).

In such a case, state laws called “intestate succession laws” govern who receives your property, regardless of what your wishes might have been.

A Court, not you, will decide who is to administer your estate.

Without a will this process could take years to iron out and court expenses that could negatively impact your family’s finances if they choose to fight for your things.

Simply put, make it easy for those you love. Get a will!

Considerations when completing a will

  • Who is to become guardians for minor children and trustees of property left to them.
  • Who is to receive your property when you die, including real estate, money, assets, and valuables like family heirlooms.
  • An executor to supervise the distribution of your property according to your will’s directives, and to pay your remaining bills.
  • Last remains and final wishes related to funeral & burial or cremation.

Reasons to change or update a will

  1. You marry or divorce
  2. Birth or adoption of child
  3. Death of a family member or beneficiary
  4. Changes in the Federal Estate Tax laws or State Tax laws
  5. Substantial change in the value of your estate
  6. Change in the nature of your property holdings
  7. A Guardian or Executor or Trustee moves away, dies, or is no longer willing or able to serve
  8. Your children are no longer minors, or are old enough to handle financial matters on their own
  9. You move to another state
  10. You wish to eliminate gifts to certain beneficiaries

How to get a will?

The most inexpensive and convenient way to get a will is by using a web-based legal document service.

Creating your will in 4 easy steps:

  1. Complete a short interview-based questionnaire (use a checklist to gather information).
  2. Save and preview your will.
  3. Download and print your will as a Word and/or PDF document.
  4. Notarize your will.

Readers are you ensuring your family and loved ones are being protected by having a will?

TaxAct makes preparing and filing your taxes quick, easy and affordable so you get your maximum refund. It’s the best deal in tax. Start free now or sign into your TaxAct Account.

Photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin cc

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