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Will Power The Importance of Writing a Will

Sanjeev Sardana
Founder&CEO-Blue Pointe Capital Management
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Sanjeev Sardana
Recent studies have shown that a majority of Americans do not have a Will. We will uncover some of the reasons why it is imperative to have a will, regardless of your net worth. For those that have done some basic estate planning like creating a Joint Tenancy with rights of survivorship, or accounts that have designated beneficiaries, assets will transfer at death of the joint tenant or owner according to the named joint tenant or beneficiary. Any remaining assets however, will be subject to a process referred to as Probate.

In California and in many other states, Probate is a lengthy legal process by which a decedent's estate is administered by a court-appointed officer, called an Executor or Administrator. At its most basic level, this process involves three steps. The first is to marshal the decedent's assets, the second is to pay any of the decedent's debts and the third is to transfer the decedent's remaining assets to his or her successors. In the event of someone’s death without a trust or a will in place, the intestacy laws of either the decedent's state of residence or the state in which the assets are located will determine who gets what part of the estate. Most states rank heirs in the following way:

1. Spouse, children and other descendants (allocation and division among these family members varies from state to state)
2. Parents
3. Siblings and children of deceased siblings
4. Other relatives
5. The state

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