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What Is A Last Will And Testament?


 A last will and testament (“Will”) is a document that directs who is to inherit estate assets and in what proportion. A Will also designates the executor who is responsible for administering the estate, a trustee to oversee and manage any assets held in trust and guardians to step into the decedent’s shoes and care for any minor children.  Considerable planning can be accomplished with a Will. For example, a Will can include tax saving trusts and trusts for the protection of disabled loved ones or those who have difficulty managing assets.  To be effective, state law requires that a Will be submitted for probate. This is the process by which the Court validates the Will and authorizes the executor to act on behalf of the estate. Following probate, the estate administration proceeds with identifying, gathering and valuing the assets, paying all creditors, filing the appropriate tax returns and distributing assets in accordance with the directions set forth in the Will. 

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