Estate planning is the process of arranging for an orderly disposition of assets after death, in a way so as to avoid legal and financial complications, excessive fees and expenses, and, in some cases, taxes.
Without estate planning, a decedent has no say in who inherits his or her money, the decedent’s family may have to pay taxes, and probate could be more complicated and time consuming than necessary.
There are three basic options when estate planning: a will, a living trust, or intestate succession.
If one dies intestate (or without a will) the deceased’s property will normally be subject to probate, and the property will pass to those heirs as determined by the laws of the state in which the deceased resided, regardless of the decedent’s wishes.
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