A Will, or Last Will and Testament, is the basic estate planning structure that nearly all persons need for the disposition of their estate. By way of your properly executed and well-developed Will, you may appoint your chosen Personal Representatives (those persons who will administer your probate estate), Guardians for your minor children, Trustees for any testamentary trusts created under your Will, and more. Contrary to popular myth, Wills can be used to do estate tax planning, asset protection for beneficiaries, purposeful planning, and other modern planning techniques. In the planning process, counseling and analysis will dictate whether a Will-based plan is the best plan for you. A complete Will-based plan will consist of the following documents: (1) Will, Power(s) of Attorney, and Advanced Medical Directive. Wills, by their very nature, are subject to probate, so a thorough understanding of the probate process and what assets are subject to probate is essential to an understanding of the role the Will plays in the estate planning process.
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