A Will transfers your assets to others at death. A Will is suitable as your primary estate document if you have a small estate and no real property. A small estate consists of up to $150,000 in personal property in your name alone and with no death beneficiary. Upon your death, a small estate may be collected and administered by your Executor out-of-court, without probate court proceedings.
Wills are also used in conjunction with Living Trusts, to transfer certain non-trust assets to your Living Trust at your death. That way, certain non-trust assets are consolidated with your Living Trust assets and administered together in a unified manner. Wills are also used to appoint legal guardians for minor children after both parents pass away, to provide for their proper custody, care, and control.
To prepare a Will, you will need to consider your relatives, friends and charities, and to make the following decisions:
Who should be the initial and alternate Executor (Estate Manager)?
Who should be the initial and alternate Guardians for minor children?
Who should inherit the property passing under your Will at your death,
(i.e., property standing in your name alone, with no death beneficiary)?