Living wills and trusts: Here’s what you need to know

Living wills and trusts: Here’s what you need to know

Estate planning isn’t the most exciting thing to do, but it’s one of the most important–both for yourself and your family. If you have minor children and some assets, you probably need an estate plan regardless of your tax situation. Why you need a will or living trust If you die without a will (intestate), the laws of the state in which you live will determine the fate of your minor children and your assets. That’s a concerning thought for most people. To avoid this, you need a written will to make your wishes known. The main purposes of a will are to name a guardian for your minor children (if any), name an executor for your estate, and specify which beneficiaries (including charities) should get which of your assets. The guardian’s job is to take care of your kids until they reach adulthood (age 18 or 21 in most states). The executor’s job is to pay your estate’s bills, pay any taxes due, and deliver what’s left to your intended heirs and charitable beneficiaries. The living trust In addition to a will, you may also want to set up a living trust to avoid probate. Probate is a court-supervised legal

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