When There's a Will, There's a Way

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Nobody wants to think about the unthinkable. But it's important to have a plan in place if something happens to you, your partner or spouse, or both of you. If you have property, even if it doesn't seem of much value, then you need to designate to whom it will belong when you aren't there.

Making a will when you have children, namely minors, is especially important. Even if you don't have them now, you may be planning a family in the future, and before you begin adding to that family, it's important to provide for them if you die unexpectedly. The first step is to make a list that includes all of your assets. Decide who should receive what, and list full names, contact information (including address, phone and e-mail address) and specifically what they should receive, including exact dollar amounts and descriptions of the items to avoid confusion in your absence. A basic will, which can avoid probate court - in which the state determines the legitimacy of your will -- and costly legal fees, is usually sufficient for people who aren't extremely wealthy, relatively healthy and under the age of 50.