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A will simply distributes the assets in your estate according to your wishes. Without a will, the state government will decide how your property is distributed. You may be surprised as to how some of these laws operate. In Ohio for instance, if you have stepchildren they are the very last relation to you that would receive anything from your estate. Stepchildren are one place ahead of the state of Ohio getting your property. This is one of many examples of why you should consider a will.

A will also allows you to decide who should be in charge of distributing your estate. This person is called an executor. There are several considerations you should consider when choosing an executor. You should also make sure your will is properly executed. If not properly executed, your will could be deemed invalid by the probate court, and state law will determine how your estate is distributed.

A will can be as specific or general as you would like. You can determine specifically who gets what. For instance, you can leave all beneficiaries a percentage of the value of your estate. Conversely, you can leave a specific beneficiary an exact amount of money, or a specific family heirloom. You should carefully consider how you choose to distribute your estate to avoid unintended consequences. For example, if you leave someone a stock certificate, then sell the stock, you may still want to leave them something. If that is not clear in the will, that beneficiary will be left out. You will also want to consider how your estate is distributed to your children. If you have already covered large expenses for some but not all of them (ex. - college tuition), leaving equal amounts to each child may be seen as unfair. I can help you sort through these and other considerations to make sure you understand all of the ramifications of your decisions.

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