A Will is the most basic estate planning tool. Although a Will can set forth a game plan much like a Living Trust does, a Will does not avoid probate. A Will simply serves as a guide for the court in determining who a decedent’s assets should be distributed to and who the decedent has chosen to serve as executor (administrator) of the estate. Alternatively, for clients with a Living Trust, the Will serves only to direct the disposition of assets that have not been properly funded into the living trust. This type of Will is referred to as a Pour-Over Will.
The will also name(s) the individual(s) the decedent has chosen to serve as the guardian(s) of any minor children. There are two types of Guardians- guardians of the person and guardians of the estate. The guardian of the person is the person chosen to provide personal and daily care to any minor children. The guardian of the estate is the person chosen to manage the financial affairs and assets distributed to any minor children.