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Tips on drafting wills for easier estate administration

Leaving a legacy can be a daunting task for many people here in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the United States. Writing a will can help significantly to transfer property in the event of a person's death and ensure that everything is in order; however, many people are hesitant to do so because these matters often touch on delicate subjects. However, without estate planning, the properties may be distributed differently than how the deceased person wanted them to be distributed, which can lead to disputes among surviving family members.

A will is one of the most important documents that a person possesses. A will can be a challenge because drafting a will means making wise decisions. Ideally, the will should be written by a lawyer, with input from the owner of the estate and, if possible, the heirs. The will should include a list of valuable properties, including real estate property, financial accounts and investments, and properties with sentimental value. The testator should consider if any of these properties will be transferred to the heirs or if any will be sold to increase the liquidity of the estate.

The will should include existing financial obligations like credit cards, loans, mortgages and outstanding payables. In addition to debts, the will should also include receivables from people or entities who owe the testator. If, by chance, the estate does not carry sufficient cash to pay the obligations, an executor can be assigned to oversee how they will be paid. For instance, an executor can determine if a part of the estate should be sold to fill in the deficit. The will also assigns an executor of the estate who will have fiduciary responsibilities. It is ideal to assign a person or entity who has good business judgment when choosing a fiduciary. Additionally, a guardian for minor children and pets and alternative executors can also be assigned.

Finally, the validity of the will is important to avoid a lengthy and costly probate. To conform to existing Pennsylvania laws and ensure that the will is not going to cause confusion, estate planners can be very helpful.

Source: Inside Tucson Business, "Five things to have ready before you write your Will," W. David Fay, July 12, 2013

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