Whether many people realize it or not, a will is a vital necessity in making sure all assets and wishes are properly attended to after death. Yet, according to a 2007 lawyers.com survey, more than 55 percent of all American adults do not have a will, assuming that because they do not have substantial assets, it is an unnecessary task. Many more people neglect it because it seems too complex and time consuming. Fortunately, with this guide in hand, you will have a comprehensive outlook on exactly what a will entails and what you need to do to prepare one. You will learn the basics of estate planning, starting with the outlining of your assets and understanding the various different forms of ownership style. The real and personal property lines, including how your marriage, children, and other legal relationships will affect your property rights, are included. You will learn what value life insurance can have and why every one should have an active policy before creating a will. In addition, you will learn how to measure and distribute assets from a pension, other retirement accounts, and if you own your own business. The difference between a trust and will is provided along with a reason why you should have both in hand at all times. You will learn what the probate court process entails and how attorneys and other legal issues factor into the process. Once the will creation process has begun, sections on how to decide the guardianship of your children and how to handle specific problem situations, such as marriage issues, disabilities, grandchildren you might care for, excess debt, and bankruptcy are provided. You will learn how to make sure your estate is taken care of so that there are no disputes amongst your family after your passing. Dozens of interviews were conducted with attorneys, tax accountants, and other experts to establish a set of clear guidelines to help you ensure your will is created with the best of everyone in mind. You will learn how to minimize the amount of taxes that will be levied on your estate, including through estate taxes, state taxes, and income taxes. You will learn how to use charitable donations, gifting, and other ploys to keep your wealth and possessions in the family. Other details covered include how to choose an attorney to execute the will, and what you can do to handle the surprises you will not be able to anticipate before filing your will. A chapter is included that helps you outline and keep track of how you will keep your will updated as you age and your estate changes. For any of the 125 million Americans without a will, this book is a vital tool to help you prepare your estate properly.