Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament is a very flexible document that can be used to achieve a wide variety of estate planning objectives.  A "simple last will and testament" may contain instructions for some or all of the following items: 

  • Payment of debts and taxes
  • Funeral and memorial services
  • Trusts for minor children
  • Pet trusts
  • Nomination of a guardian
  • Nomination of a personal representative ("executor")
  • Nomination of a trustee
  • Cash gifts
  • Charitable gifts
  • Distribution of personal property
  • Distribution of real estate
  • Distribution of business property
  • Designation of general beneficiaries
  • Disinheritance of beneficiaries

A "complex last will and testament" can be used for other estate planning objectives, including:

  • Estate tax avoidance
  • Charitable trusts
  • Special needs trusts

Whether a will is "simple" or "complex", it can be used to achieve almost any estate planning objective.  However, there are many challenges associated with drafting a will.  For example, the distribution of property may change dramatically with a slight change of wording.  Also, you must understand which items of property are covered by a will.  

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