One of the biggest misconceptions about planning an estate is that a will is the best way to leave assets behind and provide for your heirs. A will can be used to help develop the foundation for your estate planning; but while a will outlines your wishes, it usually does little to lower your estate taxes.
A will is a legal document that transfers what you own to your beneficiaries upon your death. It also names an executor to carry out the terms of your will and a guardian for your minor children, if you have any.
Your will should contain several key points in order to be valid. The following list is a start; check with your estate planning attorney for a more comprehensive list:

  • Your name and address.
  • A statement that you intend the document to serve as your will.
  • The names of the people and organizations -- your beneficiaries -- who will share in your estate.
  • The amounts of your estate to go to each beneficiary (usually in percentages rather than dollar amounts.)
  • An executor to oversee the disposition of your estate and trustee(s) to manage any trust(s) you establish.
  • Alternates to provide both executor responsibilities and trustee(s).
  • A guardian to take responsibility for your minor children and possibly a trustee to manage the children's assets in cooperation with the guardian.
  • Which assets should be used to pay estate taxes, probate fees and final expenses.

Without a will, you die intestate. The law of your state then determines what happens to your estate and your minor children. This process, called administration, is governed by the probate court and is notoriously slow, often expensive, and subject to some surprising state laws.

Contact your Montello Wealth Financial Consultant

Your Montello Wealth Financial Consultant can assist you in developing an effective estate plan which includes a Will and other key estate planning documents.

Contact us for more information on Montello Wealth’s' estate planning strategies.