Ask the Experts

Gary Altman

Principal and Founder of the estate-planning law firm Altman & Associates in Rockville, Md.

Gary Altman is a principal and founder of the estate-planning law firm Altman & Associates in Rockville.
Gary Altman is a principal and founder of the estate-planning law firm Altman & Associates in Rockville.
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Sunday, June 15, 2008; Page F04

What are the essentials of a good will?

The essential parts of a will are:

· Designating who is in charge of your property and of your minor children.

· Who is going to receive your assets.

· How they will receive your assets, outright or in a trust. A trust may be necessary if your beneficiary is a minor, has special needs, creditor or marriage problems, or any other issue that requires special attention. If you create a trust, you have to name a trustee who will be in charge of it, and you have to describe how you want the trustee to distribute assets to the beneficiary.

Once you do a will, it is essential to make sure that your assets are owned properly and your beneficiaries are correct. Your will does not control property that is jointly owned with someone else or assets that are paid directly to a beneficiary upon your death, such as life insurance or retirement accounts.


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