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Wills Trusts

Each state has statutes which establish the requirements for a valid will.
Generally, execution of a valid will requires that the testator be a minimum age and possess testamentary capacity. In most states, the minimum age is eighteen. Some states permit an individual below the minimum age to execute a will if the person is married or in the military. The testator also must be of sound mind at the time the will is executed. Sound mind requires that the testator:

  1. Know that he or she is executing a will;
  2. Know the general nature and extent of his or her property; and
  3. Know his descendants or other relatives that would ordinarily be expected to share in the estate.

The will's format must conform to the standards prescribed under state law. Most states require that a will be written or typed, signed by the testator, and attested by two or three witnesses.

Trusts are also useful in estate planning because they can be used as a way to avoid probate and may have tax advantages. (See Probate)

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