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What Do Wills Really Do?

Wills probably do more than you expected. For example:

  • They let you designate who will inherit which of your assets.
  • They let you name a guardian for your children and an executor of your estate. (The executor can be an individual you know or a trust company.)
  • They let you specify when your children will receive what. This is to prevent your 18-year-old grandson from receiving his entire inheritance before he's mature enough to keep from spending it all on stereos and cars.
  • They let you save money by waiving the probate bond, which will otherwise be required.
  • They can let you authorize the sale of some of your assets during probate administration. This can be important, because sometimes such a sale is necessary to raise money needed to pay taxes and expenses related to death.
  • They can permit your business to continue operating.
  • They can save you some money in taxes.

Learn more about estate planning at this useful (but not entirely unbiased) website: Estate Planning Links. Also, check out our previous pieces on how much funerals cost, what a will can do, and how to plan your will.

For lots of tips on how to get your life in order, financially and otherwise, including how to lop off several hundred dollars from your monthly or yearly expenses, try Motley Fool Green Light. It's full of personal finance guidance and practical advice, and we suspect it will more than pay for itself in short order.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.


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Selena Maranjian
TMFSelena

Selena Maranjian has been writing for the Fool since 1996 and covers basic investing and personal finance topics. She also prepares the Fool's syndicated newspaper column and has written or co-written a number of Fool books. For more financial and non-financial fare (as well as silly things), follow her on Twitter...

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