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Last Will, Legal Forms - Beyond Your Will and Trust 1



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Last Will & Testament<br>Related Legal Information  

Last Will & Testament
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Beyond Your Will and Trust 1.

The most well known Estate Planning tools are wills and trusts. A will tells what happens to much of your Property after death. It is a writing that says who you want to receive your Property and how your possessions will be divided. It may also name the person you want to administer your estate and who you want to take care of your young children. A "trust" is a tool used to avoid delays and complexities of the court's Probate process and also to avoid some taxes. Trusts let Property pass, after death, without being part of the "Probate" estate.
There are also other important ways for Property to pass from you to someone else without being part of a will or trust. Some of these are life insurance, bank retirement accounts and owning Property in "joint tenancy with right of survivorship." Another way for Property to pass outside your estate is by making gifts during your life.
Life insurance is an insurance policy on someone's life. The policy pays money (the "policy benefit") to the person named as "beneficiary." You may buy a life insurance policy personally, and name a spouse, children or other loved ones to receive or share the policy benefit. Also, many businesses insure the lives of key officers. The owners know earnings will be hurt if a key person dies. An insurance benefit paid to the company at that time can lessen the impact of a key officer's death. Life insurance proceeds go to the "beneficiary" without needing to name that person in a will or trust.
Money in bank retirement accounts and many other bank accounts go to the person or persons named as beneficiaries or co-owners of the account. Apart from naming someone as co-owner or beneficiary of a bank account, other kinds of Property can be owned by two or more persons in a form called "joint tenancy with right of survivorship." This method of holding Property means that when any "joint tenant" dies, that person's interest in the Property automatically goes to the other joint tenants. This ownership passing does not depend on the recipient being named in a will or trust.
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