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A will outlines how your affairs are handled after your death. You may want to preserve your assets for your family and friends, and direct specific property or specific amounts of property to specific people. If you have minor children, you would want to designate a guardian for them. You may also want to minimize taxes and makes things as easy as possible for your family.
Your executor is the person who is responsible for settling your estate. This means gathering together your assets, paying your debts and death taxes, and making distribution to your beneficiaries. The executor is responsible for keeping property insured, deciding what should be sold, investing cash, getting appraisals and filing income tax returns.
With the exception of assets that will be passed to your beneficiary by designation or operation of law, your state’s probate laws will determine how your assets are distributed in the absence of a will. Many states have different rules related to the distribution of a deceased person’s assets when no will is presented for probate.
The main differences between a will and a trust are: