A Will is a Legal Document where one sets out their intentions as to how their assets should move after they are deceased. It may or may not control their assets. A Will needs to be valid in the particular State where the decedent lives. The Will needs to control the assets of the decedent. If the assets are owned jointly with another person they may go to the survivor. Also if the asset moves by a Death Beneficiary designation, like Life Insurance, Retirement Account, Annuity, or named beneficiary on a bank or investment account, it will go directly to that person named as the Death Beneficiary regardless of what the Will says.
We hear that 70% of Americans do not have a current Will. A Will is different than a Trust in that a Will must go through Probate aka Probate Court. A Trust aka Living Trust, occasionally known as a Family Trust, may move the deceased persons assets outside of Probate if the assets are properly titled in the name of the Trust and the Trust is properly written and administered.
You will want to make sure that at the minimum you have a Will that is current with your intentions as to who you want to leave your assets to, that it controls your assets that you want it to control, and that you have the right people in control in the Will to follow your instructions.
At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.