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The importance of a last will and testament

When you die who will get your invaluable jewelry? What about your home, or a coin collection? These types of possessions are why having a last will and testament is so important.

A will and testament is a legal document that says how a person's assets are divided after a person's death.

Studies have shown that 70 percent of Americans don't have have a will and testament. However, it is a lot easier than people think, and is one of the most important documents a person can have. A will is powerful, and can give peace of mind to both the subject of the will and the family.

Even if property isn't worth a lot of money it still might have sentimental value. A will can lay out what possessions each heir receives, which can relieve the stress on families trying to decide how to divide a loved ones' property.

Without a will the government can end up making critical decisions for a person after they die. A will does more than divide monetary assets and property. It can delegate who, and how, children are raised, leave instructions for how pets are cared for and even specify the music played at your funeral.

Those without a will could leave their loved ones behind with years of legal entanglements that could end up costing a lot of money. While all wills are subject to "probate court," which is how debts are settled and property is divided, without a will a court administer will be assigned to make those decisions. That can cost up to 10 percent of a person's estate value alone.

It's always best to have get the assistance of an attorney to ensure a will is done correctly in your jurisdiction. A last will and testament is a simple process, but one of the most important documents a person can have before they pass away.

For more information on wills or trusts, please feel free to contact The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.

Sources: Reiko Joseph, "Last Will & Testament: The one legal document everyone absolutely, positively needs," August 2007. 

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The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, Inc. 728 North Court Street, Suite B Rockford, IL 61103 Phone: 815-981-4859 Fax: 815-997-5129 Rockford Law Office Map